The Christian Creed

Masonic, Occult and Esoteric Online Library

Home / Publication Library / The Christian Creed / The Descent Into Matter

The Christian Creed

By C. W. Leadbeater

The Descent Into Matter

BEFORE, however, it will be possible for the reader to appreciate fully the real meaning of  the various clauses of the Creed, it is necessary that he should understand as far as may be  possible the outline of the system of cosmogenesis which it was originally intended to indicate. This is of course identical with that taught by the Wisdom-Religion, and the statement of it with which we are now concerned is in fact an outline of the respective functions of the Three Aspects of the Logos in human evolution.

It is of course understood from the beginning that this is a subject of which none of us can hope to attain perfect comprehension for many an aeon to come, for he who grasps it thoroughly must be consciously one with the Highest. Some indications may, however, be given which will perhaps help us in our thinking, though it is most emphatically necessary to bear in mind all the way through that, since we are looking [33] at the problem from below instead of from above, from the standpoint of our extreme ignorance instead of from that of omniscience, any con­ception that we may form of it must be imperfect and therefore inaccurate.

We are told that what happens at the beginning of a solar system (such as our own) is, allowing for certain obvious differences in the surrounding conditions, identical with what happens at the re-awakening after one of the great periods of cosmic rest; and it will probably be more possible for us not entirely to misunderstand if we endeavour to direct our attention to the former rather than to the latter.

It should be realized, to begin with, that in the evolution of a solar system three of the highest principles of the Logos of that system correspond to and respectively fulfil the functions of the three Great Logoi in cosmic evolution; in point of fact, those three principles are identical with the three Great Logoi in a manner which to us down here is wholly incomprehensible, even though we may see that it must be so.

Yet we should be careful, while recognizing this identity in essence, on no account to con­fuse the respective functions of beings differing so widely in their sphere of action. It should be remembered that from the First Logos, which stands next to the Absolute, emanates the

[34] Second or Dual Logos, from which in turn comes the Third. From that Third Logos come forth the Seven Great Logoi, called sometimes the Seven Spirits before the throne of God; and as the divine out-breathing pours itself ever further outward and downward, from each of  these we have upon the next plane seven Logoi also, together making up on that plane forty-nine.

It will be observed that we have already passed through many stages on the great down­ward sweep towards matter; yet, omitting the detail of intermediate hierarchies, it is said that to each of these forty-nine belong millions of solar systems, each energized and controlled by its own solar Logos. Though, at levels so exalted as these, differences in glory and power can mean but little to us, we may yet to some extent realize how vast is the distance between the three Great Logoi and the Logos of a single system, and so avoid a mistake into which careless students are constantly falling.

Yet, though it is true that the distance be­tween the Absolute and the Logos of our own solar system is greater than our minds can grasp, it is nevertheless also certain that all the greatest  of the qualities which we have ever attributed to the Deity-His love, wisdom and power, His  patience and compassion, His omniscience, [35] omnipresence, and omnipotence - all these and many more are possessed to the fullest extent by the solar Logos, in whom in very truth we live and move and have our being. Let it never be for­gotten that in Theosophy we do not offer this as an article of religious belief, or a pious opinion; to the clairvoyant investigator this Mighty existence is a definite certainty, for un­mistakable evidence of His action and His purpose surrounds us on every side as we study the life of the higher planes. Unmistakable  also is the evidence given by His work of His threefold nature - the Trinity in Unity of which  the Creeds speak; but a fuller consideration of this will fall into place when we come to deal  with the Athanasian Creed, which so especially devotes itself to this question.



It has often been stated that each of the planes of our system is divided into seven sub-planes, and that the matter of the highest sub-plane in each may be regarded as atomic qua its particular plane-that is to say, that its atoms cannot be further subdivided without passing from that plane to the one next above it. Now these seven atomic sub-planes, taken by themselves and entirely without reference to any of the other sub-planes which are [36] after­wards called into existence by the various com­binations of their atoms, compose the lowest of the great cosmic planes, and are themselves its seven subdivisions. (See Diagram I.)

So that before a solar system comes into ex­istence we have on its future site, so to speak, nothing but the ordinary conditions of inter­stellar space - that is to say, we have probably matter of the seven subdivisions of the lowest cosmic plane, and from our point of view this is simply the atomic matter of each of our planes without the various combinations of which we are accustomed to think as linking them together and leading us gradually from one to the other.


Diagram I.

Now in the evolution of a system the action of the three higher principles or aspects of its Logos (generally called the three Logoi of the system) upon this antecedent condition of affairs takes place in what we may call a re­versed order. In the course of the great work each of them pours out his influence, but the outpouring which comes first in time is from that principle of our Logos which corresponds to the mind in man, though of course on an infinitely higher plane. This is usually spoken of as the Third Logos, or Mahat, corresponding to the Holy Ghost in the Christian system - the "Spirit of God which broods over the face of [37] the waters" of space, and so brings the worlds into existence.

An attempt is made in Diagram I. to indicate the scheme of the planes of Nature, as understood in the Theosophical teaching. A diagram of this kind, however, while it may be of the greatest assistance to our minds in one direction, is almost invariably a limitation in another; so in studying this one it is necessary to bear in mind certain qualifications. In speaking of the movement from finer matter into grosser it is customary to use the word "descent"; and for that reason it seems natural to represent these planes of matter in a diagram as though they lay one above the other, like the shelves of a book-case - nor, indeed, is there any other method by which their relations can so readily be diagrammatically expressed. Nevertheless, in reality the matter of all these planes occupies the same space; and this apparent impossibility is readily achieved by a system of interpenetra­tion. Science teaches us that ether interpene­trates every physical substance, even the hardest and densest, and that even in the diamond itself no two physical atoms or molecules ever touch another, but each is floating in a sea of ether. Science has not yet taken the next step, which would bring it to recognize that ether itself is also atomic, and that its atoms in turn do not [38] touch one another, but float in a sea of still finer matter to which we give the name of astral. Astral atoms in their turn float in mental matter, and so on as far as the most highly-developed senses of any investigator can reach. So that when we speak of the Divine life as "descending" into matter, it must be clearly understood that no motion in space is implied, but simply the vivification of degrees or stages of matter of steadily increasing density.

In Diagram II. we see again the seven planes of our system, arranged just as before, though in this case the names are not given. In Diagram I. the three Aspects or Persons of the Logos are represented as already descended into our system of planes and manifesting themselves upon the seventh, sixth and fifth respectively. In Diagram II., however, we are supposed to be dealing with an earlier condition of affairs, and so the symbols of the three Aspects are placed outside of time and space, and only the streams of influence from them descend into our system of planes. The symbols here employed to designate the three Persons are of extreme antiquity, and are copied from those employed by Madame Blavatsky to represent the corresponding Aspects of the Highest Logos of all. As it will be necessary in a later chapter to take up this symbolism in some detail, I will say no [39] more of it now, premising merely that the three signs arranged one above the other represent in due order what are commonly called the three Persons of the Trinity.

It will be seen that from each of them an out­pouring of life or force is projected into the planes below. The first of these in order is the straight line which descends from the third Aspect; the second is that part of the large oval which lies upon our left hand - the stream which descends from the second Aspect until it has touched the lowest point in matter, and then rises again up the side on our right hand until it reaches the lower mental level. It will be noted that in both of these outpourings the divine life becomes darker and more veiled as it descends into matter, until at the lowest point we might almost fail to recognize it as divine life at all; but as it rises again when it has passed its nadir it shows itself somewhat more clearly.


Diagram II.

The third outpouring which descends from the highest Aspect of the Logos differs from the others in that it is in no way clouded by the matter through which it passes, but retains its virgin purity and splendour un­tarnished. It will be noted that this out­pouring descends only to the level of the buddhic plane, and that the link between the two is formed by a triangle in a circle, [40] representing the individual soul of man - the reincarnating ego. Here the triangle is contri­buted by the third outpouring and the circle by the second; but of this we shall have more to say later. For the moment let us turn our attention to the first of these great streams, which descends from the third Aspect of the Logos.

The result of this first great outpouring is the quickening of that wonderful and glorious  vitality which pervades all matter (inert though it may seem to our dim physical eyes), so that  the atoms of the various planes develope, when electrified by it, all sorts of previously latent  attractions and repulsions, and enter into com­binations of all kinds, thus by degrees bringing  into existence all the lower subdivisions of each level, until we have before us in full action the marvellous complexity of the forty-nine sub-planes as we see them to-day.

For this reason is it that in the Nicaean symbol the Holy Ghost is so beautifully described as "the Lord and Giver of Life"; and some clue as to the method of His working may be obtained by any one who will study carefully Sir William Crookes' paper on "The Genesis of the Elements," read before the Royal Institution of Great Britain on February 18th, 1887. [41]



When matter of all the sub-planes of the system is already in existence and the field has thus been prepared for its activity, the second great outpouring begins - the outflow of what we have sometimes called the monadic essence; and it comes this time from that higher principle corresponding in our system to the Second Logos, of whom the Christian writers speak as God the Son. Much that has been said of Him, though beautiful and true when rightly understood, has been grossly degraded and misinterpreted by those who could not grasp the grand simplicity of the truth; but to this we shall return later.

Slowly and steadily, but with resistless force, this great influence pours itself forth, each successive wave of it spending a whole aeon in each of the kingdoms of nature - the three elemental, the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the human. It is thus obvious that at any given point in our evolution we have always present with us seven of these successive life-waves from the Second Aspect of the Logos, animating these seven kingdoms. On the downward arc of its mighty curve this monadic essence simply aggregates round itself the different kinds of matter on the various planes, so that all may be accustomed and adapted to act as its [42] vehicles; but when it has reached the lowest point of its destined immeshing in matter, and turns to begin the grand upward sweep of evolu­tion towards divinity, its object is to develope consciousness in each of these grades of matter in turn, beginning of course with the lowest.

Thus it is that man, although possessing in a more or less latent condition so many higher principles, is yet for a long time at first fully conscious in his physical body only, and afterwards very gradually becomes so in his astral vehicle, and later still in his mind-body.

Diagram III. expresses for us these stages of development in an ingenious fashion. Although in appearance this drawing differs wholly from Diagram II., it is nevertheless only another representation of part of the same facts as those given in the earlier illustration. The particoloured column on our left as we examine Diagram III. corresponds to the left side of the large oval in Diagram II., for they both depict the downward sweep or descent into matter of the second great outpouring.

Diagram III.

In this case, however, the different kingdoms are indicated by the use of certain colours which have been appropriated to their respective planes by Madame Blavatsky in one of the tables which she gives us in The Secret Doctrine. It is well that we should clearly understand that these different colours [43] are merely for the purpose of distinction, and that they do not in any way represent real characteristics of the planes. All the colours that we know, and some with which as yet we are not acquainted, exist upon every one of these higher planes, so that the use of a colour to distinguish one plane from another must not be supposed to indicate any preponderance of that colour in the plane which bears it. It would not be difficult to suggest fanciful reasons for their assignment - such as, for example, that the colour of sand or  earth is very appropiate for the physical plane, and the rosy hue of affection or the lurid red of  animal passion have a certain connection with the astral; but all this is mere speculation, and  the only fact upon which it is necessary to insist is that the astral plane is not as a matter of fact pervaded by a roseate hue nor the lower mental by a vivid green.

The pointed columns or bands of colour which fill the rest of Diagram III. all correspond to various stages of the upward curve at the right hand in Diagram II., and the intention of them is to express for us in a form convenient of apprehen­sion the extent to which consciousness is developed in each of the great kingdoms. The scheme is that where the consciousness is fully manifesting, the band of the column is of full width, but it narrows down as we reach the levels upon which [44] that consciousness is only just beginning to function. In the case of the mineral kingdom it will be observed that full development exists only in that part of the band which represents the three lower subdivisions of the physical - the solid, the liquid, and the gaseous, and that as we pass through the etheric, the super-etheric, the sub-atomic and the atomic sub-planes, the power to exercise consciousness grows less and less; while on the astral plane we have only a tiny point - indicating that slight though decided manifestation of desire commonly called chemical  affinity.



Only a short time ago the fact that definite life manifested itself at all in the mineral king­dom would have been disputed by all except students of occultism; but recent discoveries are  gradually altering the previously materialistic scientific position. Within the last few years three distinct lines of evidence have conspired to show the reality of life in the mineral. The researches of Professor Bose at Calcutta have shown that a mineral can be poisoned, and German chemists have devoted themselves to an exhaustive inquiry into an infectious disease which they have called the tin-pest, which attacks tin roofs, and may be communicated [45] from one roof to another. They are even hoping to acquire from this study great practical advantage and additional safety; for they think  that it may be possible to learn along these lines to prevent many of the accidents arising from what have hitherto been supposed to be un­avoidable causes - such, for example, as the sudden and inexplicable breaking of a steel tyre. At present, all that can be done to safeguard us against an accident that may arise from such a possibility is to test the tyre frequently for hidden flaws; they suggest that in many cases sudden collapse may be due to weakness induced by disease, and that an additional test for health might usefully be applied to the metal.

But by far the fullest and most satisfactory demonstration of the existence of life in the mineral world has been given by the experimental researches of Professor Otto von Schrön of Naples. By the employment of exceedingly powerful micro-photographic instruments he has been enabled to watch in detail various processes, the very existence of which had never before been suspected. He has shown that crystals possess not only movement, but also the power of reproduction, and that they exhibit various processes of generation exactly analogous to those employed in the vegetable kingdom. He gives us clear examples of generation by [46] division, generation by budding, and generation by endogenesis with emigration. In this latter case the new crystal forms itself and comes to the surface of the mother crystal, withdrawing itself by a double movement, propulsive and rotary, exactly as do the zoospores of algae. When last at Naples, I had myself, through the courtesy of Professor von Schrön, the opportunity of exa­mining a very large number of his exceedingly beautiful photographs, and also of seeing some­thing of the mechanism by which his very wonderful results have been obtained. An out­line of these most interesting investigations will be found in The Theosophical Review, vol. xxxi. page 142.

As to the power of evolution possessed by the mineral kingdom, perhaps I can hardly do better than quote a remarkable passage from Ruskin’s Ethics of the Dust, page 232.



"A pure and holy state of anything is that in which all its parts are helpful and consistent. The highest and first law of the universe, and the other name of life, is therefore ‘help.’ The other name of death is ‘separation.’ Government and co-operation are in all things, and eternally, the laws of life. Anarchy and competition are, eternally, and in all things, the laws of death. [47]

"Perhaps the best, though the most familiar, example we could take of this nature and power of consistence, will be that of the possible changes in the dust we tread on.

"Exclusive of animal decay, we can hardly arrive at a more absolute type of impurity than the mud or slime of a damp, over-trodden path, in the outskirts of a manufacturing town. I do not say mud of the road, because that is mixed with animal refuse; but take merely an ounce or two of the blackest slime of a beaten footpath, on a rainy day, near a manufacturing town.  That slime we shall find in most cases composed of clay (or brick-dust, which is burnt clay), mixed with soot, a little sand, and water. All these elements are at helpless war with each other, and destroy reciprocally each other's nature and power: competing and fighting for place at every tread of your foot; sand squeezing out clay, and clay squeezing out water, and soot meddling everywhere, and defiling the whole. Let us suppose that this ounce of mud is left in perfect rest, and that its elements gather together, like to like, so that their atoms may get into the closest relations possible.

"Let the clay begin. Ridding itself of all foreign substance, it gradually becomes a white earth, already very beautiful, and fit, with help of congealing fire, to be made into finest [48] porcelain, and to be painted on, and to be kept in Kings' palaces. But such artificial consistence is not its best. Leave it still quiet, to follow its own instinct of unity, and it becomes, not only white, but clear; not only clear, but hard; not only clear and hard, but so set that it can deal with light in a wonderful way, and gather out of it the loveliest blue rays only, refusing all the rest. We call it then a sapphire.

»Such being the consummation of the clay, we give similar condition of quiet to the sand. It also becomes, first, a white earth, then pro­ceeds to grow clear and hard, and at last arranges  itself in mysterious, infinitely fine parallel lines, which have the power of reflecting, not merely the blue rays, but blue, green, purple and red rays in the greatest beauty in which they can be seen through any hard material whatsoever. We call it then an opal.

"In next order the soot sets to work. It cannot make itself white at first, but, instead of being discouraged, tries harder and harder, and comes out clear at last, and the hardest thing in the world; and for the blackness that it had, obtains in exchange the power of reflecting all the rays of the sun at once, in the vividest blaze that any solid thing can shoot. We call it then a diamond.

"Last of all, the water purifies, or unites [49] itself; contented enough if it only reaches the form of a dew-drop; but if we insist on its proceeding to a more perfect consistence, it crystallizes into the shape of a star. And for the ounce of slime which we had by political economy of competition, we have, by political economy of co-operation, a sapphire, an opal, and a diamond, set in the midst of a star of snow."



All this helps us to understand how conscious­ness slowly but steadily presses upward. We have life and evolution in the mineral, and the first faint beginnings of desire as shown in chemical affinity; but in the vegetable kingdom we find desire much more prominent and decided, while the life-force is working actively for evolu­tion in a far more definite way. Indeed, many plants exercise a great deal of ingenuity and sagacity in attaining their ends, limited though these ends may be.

We shall not be surprised, therefore, to find that the band in Diagram III, symbolizing consciousness in the vegetable kingdom, indicates a considerable degree of advancement. The full width of the band here extends through the higher as well as the lower subdivisions of the physical plane, while the point upon the astral plane has much increased in size. It is in fact [50] only within the last few years, since botany has been studied from the biological side, that we have wakened up to understand what wonderful things plants really are - that we have made an effective study of their consciousness, their habits and their tendencies. Nothing can be more marked than their likes and dislikes; indeed, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that there is scarcely a virtue or a vice known to mankind which has not its counterpart among them. There was a time when flowers were regarded as created for the pleasure of man, but we have now realized that the life ensouling the plant adapts all its parts most wonderfully to the work which they have to do for the good of the organism as a whole. A plant or a tree may be said to be a colony of vegetable organisms. From the point of view of the plant, the flower, which seems to us the culmination and goal of the whole, is really an aborted and degraded leaf, though it also has its function to perform. We may say that the leaves act as accumulators of energy, for they gather carbon and liberate oxygen; the flowers, on the other hand, expend energy, for they require oxygen and liberate carbon dioxide. The leaves store up food materials in the tubers and the stem, while the flowers draw upon this account - never selfishly, be it understood, but always in the interest of [51] the plant as a whole, and in the furtherance of its desire to found a family. They slowly and steadily store up energy, and then spend it all comparatively rapidly. The mouths of the leaves are on their under surfaces, and they are so tiny that a square inch of the ordinary lilac-leaf con­tains a quarter of a million of them. Forty-five million tons of carbon dioxide is thrown into the air daily by men and animals, and yet the whole of this is absorbed by those tiny mouths - or rather the carbon is extracted from it.

The adaptability of plants is wonderful. All climbing plants, for example, have acquired the power of climbing in order to reach the sunlight, and have developed whatever organs are neces­sary for this purpose - hooks or tendrils or extra roots, or sometimes simply the power of twining. Varieties of flowers develope in order to attract different types of insects, and many of the adaptations are wonderfully ingenious. Some flowers, for example, carefully provide a lip for the insect to alight upon, and arrange that the vibration which he communicates to the flower in doing so shall shake down pollen upon his back! Orchids cement their pollen, so that their insect messenger may not lose it fruitlessly by the way. The asclepiads defend themselves against the waste of their valuable material by catching and strangling flies which do not [52] fertilize. Again, vegetable ingenuity is shown in the development of fruit in order to suit the various tastes and sizes of birds. The fruit re­mains acid and undesirable until the germ or stone within is fully developed and ready to be carried away to a distance. Then the fruit becomes sweet, the bird eats it, but is unable to digest the hard stone or pip, and drops it some­where at a distance from the parent plant, so that it has a better opportunity to grow.

Some plants develope thorns in order to pre­vent themselves from being eaten by mammals; others, on the contrary, depend upon mammals for conveyance of their ripe seeds to a distance, as does the burdock or the goose-grass, which develope little hooks to cling to the coats of animals which pass by them. It may be re­membered that when foreign wool was imported into Gloucestershire, it was found that plants from the Cape and from South America began to make their appearance in the neighbourhood where the wool was combed. Various plants trust to the wind for the dissemination of their seeds, as do the thistle, the cotton plant and the lime. The cocoanut palm trusts to tides or rivers to carry away its fruit, and therefore grows by preference on the very edge of the ocean. Another way in which the ingenuity of plants is displayed is in the methods which they [53] adopt for their defence. Some develope bloom upon their fruit in order to shield it from the effects of rain and dew; others produce poisonous secretions to save themselves from marauding insects. Others grow woolly hairs for this purpose, as the mullein, while some endeavour to protect themselves from being eaten by developing spikes or thorns, as in many familiar plants, or by impregnating themselves with silica, as do the horse-tails. Many more instances of their curious cleverness might easily be given, but they may be found in the later books on botany, and we must pass on now to the next stage.



In the animal kingdom we observe the continuation of evolution along exactly the same lines. Here desire occupies a very prominent place, and there can be no doubt that the astral body is definitely beginning to function, though the animal has usually as yet but little that can be called consciousness in it apart from the physical vehicle. In the higher domestic animals, however, the astral body has sufficient development to persist after death for many days, and sometimes for months, while a certain amount of mental activity is distinctly beginning to show itself. This latter fact is indicated in our illustration by the green point [54] which extends up into the lower part of the mental plane, while the fact that on the lowest sub-plane of the astral the band preserves its full width shows that the animal is capable to the fullest extent of the lower types of passion, emotion and desire. The rapid narrowing of the point as it approaches the higher astral level shows the kingdom as a whole to be capable only to a limited extent of the higher possibilities of the plane, though in some advanced individuals  among the more developed domestic animals these possibilities are present to a very high  degree. I remember that in the days of our youth we were told that reason was the distinguishing attribute of man alone, and that no animal possessed it. Any person who has ever kept a pet animal, and has made a friend of that animal, as he will have done if he was worthy of the honour of animal friendship, knows that this is untrue, for he is well aware that the animal does reason, although it may be only along certain narrow lines. Any book of stories of the sagacity of dogs, cats or horses is sure to contain plenty of evidence of the possession of reasoning power.



When we come to the human kingdom we find that with the lower types of men desire is still emphatically the most prominent feature, [55] though the mental development has also proceeded to some extent; during life the man has a dim consciousness in his astral vehicle while he is asleep, and after death he is fairly conscious and active in it, and his life in it endures for many years, though as yet he has practically nothing of the higher existence of the heaven world.

Coming to the ordinary cultured man of our own race, we find him showing high mental activity during life, and possessing qualities which give him the possibility of a very long existence in the heaven-world after death. He is fully conscious in his astral body during sleep, though not usually much in the habit of usefully employing that consciousness, and not generally able to carry through any connected memory from the one condition of existence to the other.

Examining the band of colour which represents humanity, we see that these various character­istics are indicated there. It retains its full width through the whole of the astral plane, and even to the lowest sub-plane of the mental, showing that man is capable of all varieties of desire to the fullest possible extent, the highest as well as the lowest, and that his reasoning faculty is fully developed as far as the selfish mentality of that lowest level is concerned. [56] Higher than that the development is not yet perfect, though it is commencing. The dark blue point on the higher mental levels shows that he is a reincarnating ego, and possesses a causal body, though to represent the average man correctly the point should not rise above the third of those levels.

The cases of the comparatively few men who have as yet undertaken the task of self-development along occult lines show us that the future course of evolution simply means the unfolding of consciousness on higher and higher planes as humanity passes onward and becomes fit for such development. The band which appears at the extreme right of Diagram III. is emblematical of the spiritually-developed man - one who has trodden far upon the Path of Holiness. It will be observed that in his case the broadest part of the band, which indicates always that part of the nature in which the consciousness is centred, and in which it works most readily, is no longer upon the physical or astral planes at all, but between the higher mental and the buddhic. The fact that he still retains his connection with the physical plane is indicated by the lower point; but it is only a point, because that is no longer the central part of his life - because he retains the physical body only in order that through it he may help his fellow-men. Both on the astral [57] plane and on the mental his band is widest at the highest part, showing that to him the higher thoughts and higher feelings are those which come natural. His consciousness extends upward through the whole of the buddhic plane, and he has even a point which penetrates into Nirvana indicating thereby that he must have attained the level of the Arhat.



The blue triangle which appears on the higher levels of the mental plane in the band which indicates the ordinary human kingdom in Diagram III. corresponds exactly to the white triangle in a circle in Diagram II. It is into the genesis of this triangle that we have now to enquire, for it is the result of the third great out­pouring of divine life - that from the highest principle or Aspect of the Logos of the system, corresponding to the spirit in man, and holding the place filled in cosmic evolution by the first Logos, which has been called by Christianity God the Father.

An attempt has been made to indicate how the monadic essence in its upward course gradually unfolds consciousness, first in the physical plane, then in the astral, and then in the lower mental. But it is only when in the highest of the domestic animals it reaches this [58] latter stage that the possibility of the third out­pouring comes within measurable distance. For this third wave of divine life can descend of itself no lower than our buddhic plane, and there it seems as it were to hover, waiting for the development of fit vehicles to enable it to come  down one step further and be the individual souls of men. The phrase sounds strange, but it is difficult to express accurately in human words the mysteries of the higher life.

Imagine (to use an Eastern simile) the sea of  monadic essence steadily pressed upward into  the mental plane by the force of evolution inherent in it, and this third outpouring hover­ing above that plane like a cloud, constantly attracting and attracted by the waves below. Anyone who has ever seen the formation of a water-spout in tropical seas will grasp the idea of this Oriental illustration - will understand how the downward-pointing cone of cloud from above and the upward-pointing cone of water from below draw nearer and nearer by mutual attraction, until a moment comes when they suddenly leap together, and the great column of mingled water and vapour is formed.

Similarly the blocks of animal monadic essence are constantly throwing parts of themselves into incarnation like temporary waves on the surface of the sea, and the process of differentiation goes [59] on until at last a time comes when one of these waves rises high enough to enable the hovering cloud to effect a junction with it, and it is then drawn up into a new existence neither in the cloud nor in the sea, but between the two, and partaking of the nature of both; and so it is separated from the block of which it has hitherto formed a part, and falls back into the sea no more. That is to say, an animal belonging to one of the more advanced blocks of essence may by his love for and devotion to his master, and by the mental effort involved in the earnest endeavour to understand him and please him, so raise himself above his original level that he becomes a fit vehicle for this third outpouring, the reception of which breaks him away from his block and starts him on his career of immortality as an individual.

If we remember that the consciousness of the monadic essence has been developed up to the lower mental level, and that the hovering influence of the divine life has descended to the buddhic plane, we shall be prepared to look on the higher mental levels for the resultant combination; and that is truly the habitat of the causal body of man, the vehicle of the reincarnating ego.

But here we note that a curious change has taken place in the position of the monadic [60] essence. All the way through its long line of evolution in all the previous kingdoms it has invariably been the ensouling and energizing principle, the force behind whatever forms it may have temporarily occupied. But now that which has hitherto been the ensouler becomes  itself in turn the ensouled; from that monadic essence is formed the causal body - that resplendent sphere of living light into which the still more glorious light from above descends, and by means of which that divine spark is enabled to express itself as a human indi­viduality.

Nor should any think that it is an unworthy goal to reach as the result of so long and weary  an evolution, thus to become the vehicle of this last and grandest outpouring of the divine  spirit; for it must be remembered that without the preparation of this vehicle to act as a connecting link the immortal individuality of man could never come into being, and that this upper triad thus formed becomes a transcendent unity - "not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God." So that no fragment of the work that has been done through all these ages is lost, and nothing has been useless; for without that work this final consummation could never have been reached, that man should become the equal of the Logos [61] from whom he came forth, and that thus the very Logos Himself should be perfected, in that He has of His own offspring those equal to Himself upon whom that love which is the essence of His divine nature can for the first time be fully lavished.

Be it remembered also that it is only in the presence within him of this third outpouring of the divine life that man possesses an absolute guarantee of his immortality; for this is "the spirit of man that goeth upward" in contra­distinction to "the spirit of the beast that goeth downward" - that is to say, which flows back again at the death of the animal into the block of monadic essence from which it came.

A time will come, so we are told, though to our intellect it may well seem unthinkable - the time of the universal rest, called in the East the night of Brahma - when "all things visible and invisible" will be re-absorbed into That from which they came; when even the Second and Third Logoi themselves, and all that is of their essence, must for the time sink into sleep and disappear. But even in that period of universal rest there is one Entity who remains unaffected; the First, the Unmanifested Logos, rests still, as ever, in the bosom of the Infinite. And since the direct essence of this, the divine Father of all, enters into the composition of the spirit of [62] man, by that almighty power his immortality is absolutely assured.

How beautifully, how grandly these glorious conceptions are mirrored even in what is left to us of the Christian Creeds, I shall hope to show as we consider them clause by clause. [63]



Masonic Publishing Company

Purchase This Title

Browse Titles
"If I have seen further than
others, it is by standing
upon the shoulders of giants."


Comasonic Logo

Co-Masonry, Co-Freemasonry, Women's Freemasonry, Men and Women, Mixed Masonry

Copyright © 1975-2024 Universal Co-Masonry, The American Federation of Human Rights, Inc. All Rights Reserved.