On August 4, 1789, a large and unruly Parliament of excited men sat in a hall at Versailles. It was the National Assembly of revolutionary France, and it was framing a new constitution for the country. But what was agitating the assembly at the moment was the preamble to that constitution - a Declaration the Rights of Man. Suddenly one of the members interposed with an amendment. He proposed that the Declaration of Rights of Man should also be a Declaration of the Duties of Man. His amendment was impatiently rejected, the majority being 575 against 433; and the assembly proceeded to adopt almost unanimously the motion that preamble should consist only of a Declaration Rights.
Human nature has not changed much since then. We still hear much about the rights of man. About the duties we do not hear quite so much. The lesson is applicable to the present situation, if at all.
When we demand our rights, or promise other people their rights, the motive concerned is self-interest, the self-interest of an individual or of a class. When duties are spoken of, it is conscience that is appealed to. Which is better for the welfare and progress of the individual - self-interest or conscience? Which is better for the welfare of the community?
The truth brings with it great serenity and also great independence. He is no longer at the mercy of others for his happiness.
It cannot be emphasized too often that meditation is not easy and can often become dangerous, leading the slipshod meditator into an abnormal life.
Occultism is concerned with the inner man, who must be strengthened and freed from the dominion of the physical body and its surroundings, which must become its servants. Hence the first and chief necessity of Chelaship is a spirit of absolute unselfishness and devotion to Truth; then follow self-knowledge and self-mastery.
If many of you do this, the Collected Writings will be indexed faster. It may still take some time, but that's just the way Google works.
"Open Thou mine eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of The Law".
The Song of Solomon is one of the holiest portions of the Old Testament, for it represents in poetry the Union of the Father-GOD with the Mother or Love Aspect, His Complementary Opposite, His Completion and Perfection, the Shekinah of Israel. The word Shekinah is derived from the verb shachan, to dwell within. The Shekinah is the Inhabiting Glory, the Indwelling Light. Her chief symbol is all-permeating, Universal Illumination, seen clairvoyantly in olden days around the Ark of the Covenant.
A vision of the Shekinah is similar to the vision of the Holy Grail, in that it comes only to him who lives a pure and spiritual life. When Moses descended from Mt. Sinai after his great vision of God in His Fullness, during which he became powerfully clairvoyant and clairaudient, his face was seen to be illuminated by the Holy Light, all that remained of his contact with the Ineffable Glory. According to tradition the Light was seen of old to shine forth from between the shoulders and the fingers of the officiating Priest in the Temple at the moment when he spoke the words recorded in Numbers VI, "The Lord make His Face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you."
The exquisite perfumes which occasionally pervade a house or a person are thought by some occult students to be due to a temporary presence of the Shekinah, perhaps indicating that goodness spreads around an appropriate atmosphere, for many persons of fine character have been known to give out sweet odours - notably Walt Whitman, some of whose friends have testified to the fragrance shed abroad by his body.
There are two aspects of the Mother, the Higher and the Lower Shekinah - the Supernal Shekinah and that which manifests in Matter. If we accept the teaching of the Levitical Doctrine (now-a-days being marvelously justified by the findings of modern science), that there is Divine Intelligence in every particle of matter, we see that the Shekinah is universally indwelling, permeating all things. She is Spirit, dwelling within both Man and Nature. She is Tebunah, Understanding, Intelligence, Insight, Intuition, illuminated by Love. She is the passive, negative aspect, the Darkness, the Sheltering Mother in Whom all things come to birth. And yet she is Light, the Inhabiting Glory.
The Supernal Mother never descends to the Material Plane, but puts forth into it a reflection of herself, an eidolon, called in the Kabalah the Spouse, the Bride or the Queen, and sometimes the Daughter.
She manifests as Sound as well as Light. "Bas Qol", the Voice of the Daughter, is the Divine Music caused by the stars and planets as they plunge through space. Plato, who learned much from his study of the Kabalah, called it "the Music of the Spheres".
In manifestation on the earth plane, Shekinah is still the Spouse of GOD, His Complementary Opposite, the feminine aspect of Nature and Man.
The Zohar, one of the most important portions of the Kabalistic writings, tells us of Four Worlds of Being: -
I. The World of Creation.
II. The World of Emanation.
III. The World of Formation.
IV. The World of Manifestation in Matter.
In the Worlds of Creation and Emanation there is no difference between the Shekinah and GOD, for They are One, it is in the Worlds of Formation and Manifestation that separation occurs, and manifestation on the Material Plane becomes infinitely complex and varied.
G.R.S. Mead writes of:
"GOD the Father-Causative Essence.
"GOD the Mother-Formative Essence".
But the Shekinah remains the Complementary Opposite of Deity (without Whom He could not manifest), no matter how lowly her manifestations, for in all material things there is Spirit enclosed and enchained.
The Emperor Hadrian said to a great Rabbi named Joshua, that he would like to see the Shekinah. Joshua told him to gaze upon the Sun. "I cannot," said the Emperor. "Then if you cannot look upon GOD'S servant the Sun, how can you expect to see the Shekinah?"
The Great Mother of Israel was adopted by the Roman Church together with many of her symbols and attributes and incorporated in the Virgin Mary.
Isis, the Egyptian equivalent of Shekinah, was sometimes portrayed black in color to symbolize the Sheltering Mother in whose body all things came to growth in darkness and in mystery. In the Mystery Plays of the Middle Ages the woman who took the part of the Virgin was clad in black garments, and black images of the Virgin are still to be found in Churches in Central Europe, usually credited with supernatural powers of Healing. There is one such just over the borders between Saxony and Czecho-Slovakia. On a table near the image are laid out reproductions of different parts of the human body - legs, arms, eyes, ears, hands and so forth, as well as discarded crutches, bandages, etc. The statue itself is hung with valuable jewels offered by grateful invalids.
The feminine aspect of God the Father has been largely eliminated from the Christian doctrine - so much the worse for the world. For it is pointed out in the Zohar that the world will never be free from poverty, misery and war until man and woman, masculine and feminine rule the world in perfect equality.
The doctrine of the existence of the Shekinah does not conflict with the strictly monotheistic faith of the Israelites, to whom the Deity was Duality in Unity. The very last words spoken by a Jew in this world - or spoken for him if he is incapable of speech - are:
"Hear ye, Israel, the Lord our GOD is One."
In spite of the belief that the Higher Aspect of Shekinah never descends, she is said traditionally to have been present at important moments in the history of Israel - for example, on Mt. Sinai during the interview between GOD and Moses. In her Light Aspect she was present in the Pillar of Fire and in the Burning Bush. She is invoked in the Night Prayers of little children in Jewish homes - "On my four sides four Angels, above my head the Shekinah". When Israel sins she departs from her, and "he who walks haughtily crowds out her feet."
Tradition tells us that the Shekinah, when manifesting in form, had wings, and that when Moses died, he was symbolically laid to rest amid her feathers.
This reminds us of the passage in the 91st Psalm: -
"He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His Wings shalt thou trust."
No human being leaves this world without a vision of the Shekinah, it is she who bestows the Living Spirit upon the newly risen to the Life of Heaven. Then the soul is given a new vestment. In the case of the "justified", or righteous, it is a garment of Light, seen at the Ascension by the followers of the Lord Jesus, the sign of "Man made Perfect."
The risen spirit, having crossed the River of Death, is received on the further shore by the Holy Mother, the Dweller in the Supernal and is given the Sacred Kiss, the Kiss of Infinite Love.
... When reason returned with the morning - when I had slept off the fumes of the night's debauch - I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.
In the meantime the cat slowly recovered. The socket of the lost eye presented, it is true, a frightful appearance, but he no longer appeared to suffer any pain. He went about the house as usual, but, as might be expected, fled in extreme terror at my approach. I had so much of my old heart left, as to be at first grieved by this evident dislike on the part of a creature which had once so loved me. But this feeling soon gave place to irritation. And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of PERVERSENESS. Of this spirit philosophy takes no account. Phrenology finds no place for it among its organs. Yet I am not more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart - one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. It was this unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself - to offer violence to its own nature - to do wrong for the wrong's sake only - that urged me to continue and finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffending brute. One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; - hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; - hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; - hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin - a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it - if such a thing were possible - even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God...
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