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Adam and Eve. – In their mystical sense, and as applied to the individual, Adam and Eve are respectively the exterior selfhood, or sense and reason, and the interior selfhood, or soul and intuition, which together constitute the human being. And they are as man and woman to each other, in that they represent respectively the centrifugal or force element, which is the masculine, and the centripetal or love element, which is the feminine element of existence. For a full treatment of this subject, see The Perfect Way, Lectures VI and VII.


Arche. – A Greek term, signifying beginning, first cause, origin, and said to have been first used by Anaximander (580 B.C.) in the sense of principle (principium) to denote the eternal and infinite basis or substance (sub-stans) of things, and which is therefore not itself a

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thing, but that from which all things proceed, and of which they all consist, and to which they all return. It is thus the containing, and therefore the feminine, element or mode of Deity, as distinguished from the energising and masculine element or mode; or God the Mother as distinguished from God the Father. It is termed also the fourth dimension, or the within of space, from which the other dimensions proceed; and the noumenon, reality, being, or “thing in itself,” which underlies or sub-stands the phenomenon, appearance, existence, or thing perceived. As original, divine, and self-subsistent, and therein distinguished from matter, which is secondary, derived, and created, Arche denotes the substance alike of divinity and of the soul, the nucleus of the nucleolus in both God and man. The word Ark is derived from it, and like the word Ark, the Hebrew for which is tebah, means any kind of containing vessel. In one of the ancient versions of the Bible – the Coptic – thebi is used instead of tebah, a form which relates it still more closely to Tibet, Thebes, and other places similarly so named apparently as being homes of the Mysteries, and as representing, therefore, the Soul as the dwelling-place of the Spirit, and source of all Divine knowledges (see page 57, note 1). Thus, in its highest application, the ark of Noah denotes the original Divine substance containing in its bosom the “eight persons,” God (the Nous) and His seven spirits, of whom all the universe is overspread.

[Note: In Arche, Aphrodite, Persephone, Psyche, Herpe, and all Greek terms ending in e, the final letter is sounded. The ch is usually pronounced as k.]


Astral Fluid. – The universal ether of space and immediate substance of the manifested universe, which becomes the various elements by means of differentiality of polarisation. It is not the substance of the soul, whether unindividuate or individuate, for that is divine and uncreate; but it is the first projection of soul-substance into the material of creation, and is as the veil of the soul. It subsists under many degrees of purity or tenuity, and is the abode of all spirits below the celestial. In man it constitutes the third element of his system, counting from within outwards, and coming next to the body, acts as the intervening medium between it and the soul. As thought substance, it is the seat of the mundane mind or lower reason; and a disorderly condition of it is a frequent cause of such mental derangements as are not due to lesions of the organism.


Astral Spirits. – While the astral sphere is the abode of all spirits below the celestial, and their exterior covering or ethereal body is constituted of it, there are spirits, or rather entities so-called, which are constituted entirely of it, having neither a spiritual nor a material nature. These have no existence apart from man, and are emanations from man, being to him as reflects of himself but devoid of substantiality as the images in a mirror. As with morbid growths in the physical system, such as tumours, they become new centres of activity in the system, deriving their sustenance from the system generally, to the depletion and emaciation of the individual; and only by a healthy regime in mind and body, of which earnest and frequent prayer is an important element, can they be subdued and

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the vitality absorbed by them returned into its proper channels. The function of prayer in such cases consists in its being a means of directing the mind inwards and upwards with such energy as to convert its otherwise lambent and diffused substance into a flame, so to speak, thereby rendering it incapable of division or diversion – a condition incompatible with astral obsession. The astral fluid constitutes the perispirit, double, or astral body of man in life, and his phantom ghost, or Ruach after death. The astral body is called also the magnetic and odic body, according as the reference is to the substance, the force, or some other attribute. The term odic is claimed to be of Oriental derivation. The Hindûs apply the term Akasa to the astral ether in its primordial or pre-cosmic state. The astral emanations or “reflects” of persons are visible to the lucid, who – unless duly instructed – is unable to discriminate between them and genuine extraneous spirits, so life-like are their impersonations. The merely mechanical “medium” is readily responsive to their influence. And many besides mediums are liable to receive from them mental suggestions – often of the most mischievous character – and to mistake them for suggestions arising from a divine or some other source entitled to be heeded. The astral phantom may serve as a medium of communication with an actual departed spirit; but the message depends for its value upon its independence of the transmitting vehicle. The mere phantom, uncontrolled by the soul, is no trustworthy instructor or guide, and inasmuch as the astral is rather an emanation from the body than a distinct element, it is essential to clear spiritual vision that the body also be subjected to the rule of purity, especially in respect of diet.

Thus far concerning the astral on its occult side. In its mystical aspect it denotes (as explained in Note K) the region of spiritual weakness, doubt, temptation, difficulty, and distress, upon which the aspirant enters on his emergence from the “Egypt” of things material merely and intellectual, when he sets his face towards the “Promised Land” of spiritual perfection. For the wilderness that lies between, and must be painfully traversed, is no other than the astral belt within his own system, already in these pages so exquisitely presented in the hymn to the planet-god [Part II, XIII (6)] as to need no further explanation here. Concerning the distinction between the terms mystical and occult, see the explanation given under Occultism.

The Elect is a term the misunderstanding of which has been a stumbling-block and a curse to Christendom. And the evil has arisen through the suppression of the doctrine of a multiplicity of earth-lives, otherwise called the doctrine of re-incarnation or transmigration, and the consequent assumption that all who are not actually of the elect are hopelessly reprobate and lost; – a belief which, by its ascription to God of a capricious, arbitrary, and pitiless character, has served greatly to obscure from view the perfection of the Divine Nature.

The truth is that by the elect are denoted only those in whom the redemptive process has, already proceeded so far as to ensure their

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ultimate salvation, all others being still in too rudimentary a stage of their evolution to have attained to this desirable state, and therefore, still without assurance of salvation, and consequently liable to failure.

Seeing how small a proportion of persons in any one period or generation are entitled to be regarded as elect, and how complex and prolonged the process requisite for the elaboration of the individual from his beginning in the lowest forms of organic life to the summit of human evolution, where humanity unites with Deity – the denial of a multiplicity of earth-lives to afford the requisite opportunities of experience would be a sentence of perdition upon the entire race. Whereas, as it is – according to the ancient and universal doctrine now newly recovered – so far from souls having their beginning at some arbitrary stage upon the ladder of evolution, with their destiny for eternal bliss or woe, not merely dependent upon the use made by them of a single brief existence amid conditions wholly new and strange to them, but arbitrarily fixed independently of aught that they can do or desire – they begin at the lowest round, and returning again and again to the body, have ample time and opportunity to determine their final lot for themselves, according to the tendencies voluntarily encouraged by them.


Hades. (Heb. Sheol = hell; lit. in darkness) Denotes the lower spheres of the consciousness, the material and astral, to be in which is to the soul, which belongs by its nature to the higher and celestial, to be “in prison,” or “beneath the altar.” See p. 149.


Iacchos, Jacob, and Joachim. – The last of these three names is that which Christian tradition assigns to the father of the Virgin Mary, in obvious recognition of her derivation as the soul, from him as the planetary Spirit. The names themselves are not only related to each other in form and meaning, but they have a common reference to the special functions and characteristics of the god of the fourth sphere – the earth, matter, or body. For in implying force, effort, success, and triumph, they indicate all the stages through which spirit passes, from its first projection into matter to its redemption and final exaltation in soul. It is true that the successes of Jacob over his brother Esau, wherein he supplanted him in his birthright and blessing, are ascribed to craft, and only his success when he “wrestled with God, and prevailed,” to force. But inasmuch as the brothers are types respectively of the exterior and the interior selfhood, of which the former is the elder, in virtue of its being the first to be manifested in man, the craft by which Jacob obtained his advantage denotes precisely that superior subtlety of nature whereby the soul surpasses the body, and demonstrates itself as the true and only possible inheritor of eternal life.

The Egyptian origin of Joachim (as also of Jehovah) is indicated in 2 Kings xxiii, 34, where Pharaoh is said to have changed the name of Eliakim to Jehoiakim (of which Joachim is an equivalent); while the identity of this name with Iacchos is implied in the fact of its being thus imposed by the conquering upon the conquered

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king, since only the names of the gods of the former were thus imposed.


Karma. – By the recent appropriation of this Eastern term into the English language, a most valuable addition has been made to our vocabulary of mystical science. It is not yet sufficiently familiar, however, to render a definition of it superfluous. The idea implied by it, namely, the persistence after death of the effects of the tendencies encouraged and the characteristics acquired in life, and the necessity, where these have been bad, of expiation and amendment by the subject of them, is involved in the doctrine of purgatory and retribution. But inasmuch as by Karma is meant a repeated return into the earth-life, there to work out in new bodies the evil consequences of past lives, and by means of multiplied experiences to rectify defects of character; and by purgatory is meant only a post-mortem expiation by suffering, and no experiential development, the latter term is in no sense an equivalent for the former.

The inability of the vast majority of persons to remember their previous existences is due to the fact that the return is that only of the permanent ego or soul, and not of the external personality; and that they are very few in number who succeed during life in establishing with their souls relations so intimate as to gain cognisance of their soul’s history. But the fact that the outer personality is left thus uninformed on the subject, in no way invalidates either the truth or the value of reincarnation, since the function of the body is to serve as an instrument by and through which the soul obtains experiences, and the end of those experiences is attained when the soul applies them to its own advancement. Nor is the fact – if it be a fact – that but comparatively few of the spirits with whom intercourse is held admit the doctrine, valid as an argument against it, since the agent of such communication is rarely the soul itself but only its astral envelope, and this is in no better position than the material body to pronounce upon the question.


Miracle. – In default of a prior definition of the terms natural and human, the terms supernatural and superhuman must be rigidly excluded from any attempt to define miracle. In defining miracle as the “natural effect of an exceptional cause” (p. 58), the term natural is used simply in the sense of orderly, regular, normal, legitimate. Wherefore it remains only to show in what sense the cause is exceptional. This term derives its force from the inequality of human development in respect of human capacities. As a microcosm of the macrocosm, man comprises in his system, either actually or potentially, all that is in the universe; and in virtue of his having obtained the consciousness of and mastery over any plane within himself, he is able to attain the consciousness of and mastery over the corresponding plane without himself. The fully developed man – he who, having realised all the potentialities of his nature, is a typical Man – is able to exercise mastery over planes of being, of the very existence of which the undeveloped man is ignorant, finding no answering consciousness of them in himself.

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To him, therefore, the manifest tokens of such mastery constitute miracles. They represent for him a region and a power which, by virtue of their transcending his own range of observation and ability, are apt to be regarded by him as also transcending nature, and as being, therefore, miraculous. But neither do they transcend nature, nor are they miraculous (using these terms in the conventional sense) for the man who works them, because he knows them to be the natural effects of causes which are exceptional only in that they appertain to a sphere of nature known to but a comparative few. Nor would they be regarded as transcending nature and as being miraculous even by the undeveloped witness of them, save for the liability of the undeveloped man to regard himself and his compeers as typical men, and as the measure of nature and of humanity, and to consider all that transcends their own limits as also transcending nature and man. Their mistake lies, of course, in restricting their conception of nature and man to the material and physical, and then either assuming that the psychical and spiritual are beyond nature and man, or denying to them any real being.

Now, the undeveloped man subsists under two modes. In one of these he is altogether rudimentary in respect of all faculties which surpass the physical, namely, the intellectual, the moral, and the spiritual. And in the other, he is developed – possibly to an extraordinary degree – in respect of some one of the spheres of consciousness denoted by these terms, and yet is altogether rudimentary as regards the others. The typical scientist of the day, for instance, is one who is highly developed in respect of the intellectual faculty so far as regards the consciousness of things material; but as regards that of things moral and spiritual he is altogether rudimentary, and his attitude towards experiences of the order commonly accounted miraculous and supernatural, is one of such determined antagonism – through his inability to recognise the corresponding regions in himself – as to render him wholly inaccessible to reason and evidence in their behalf. This is to say, he has a fixed idea which no reason or evidence can overcome. Now, it is a significant fact that the possession of a fixed idea, which no reason or evidence can overcome, is by materialistic scientists themselves – those whose speciality is medicine – accounted a sufficient plea for certifying its possessor as insane and unfit to be at large.

It is by persons similarly rudimentary in respect of the spiritual consciousness that the important function of literary criticism is for by far the most part exercised; the result being that the confession of spiritual experiences is treated in a tone of contempt and ribaldry such as largely to deter from the promulgation of this class of experiences; their recipients shrinking alike from exposing their “pearls” to profanation and themselves to contumely and affront. Hence it has come that, between the physician and the literary critic, the confession of experiences indicative of man’s higher potentialities – and, in such sense, “miraculous” – has in our day been made perilous, and the world has in consequence been deprived of testimony which would have gone far to save it from the abyss

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of unreason and negation into which it has fallen. And this repression and rejection of experience in deference to a hypothesis – it is curious to note – has occurred in an age which vaunts itself superior to all other ages, especially on the ground that it takes nothing for granted, but makes experience the sole basis of knowledge.

Such denial of man’s higher potentialities is, moreover, utterly inconsistent with the belief in evolution as the method of creation, combined as that belief is with the confession of absolute ignorance respecting the nature of the substance in which evolution occurs.

Mysticism (in religion) has for its antithesis materialism (in religion), in that it deals with those realities and verities which are spiritual, eternal, and of the soul – that is, with principles, processes, and states appertaining to the interior consciousness – instead of with persons, places, and events which are physical, historical, and of the senses; and regards the sacred writings when expressed in terms derived from the latter as really referring to the former, and valuable only in so far as they do refer to the former. For which reason the religious mystic cares for the letter of Scripture only in so far as it is a vehicle for the spirit, and makes it his study to discern the spirit through the letter, and by all means to avoid limiting the spirit by the letter; considering that to the substitution of the literal for the spiritual sense of Scripture has been due the perversion of Christianity into a fetish at once monstrous, idolatrous, and dishonouring both to God and to man. Wherefore in the condition hitherto prevailing in Christendom, the mystic sees the fulfilment as of a prophecy, of the saying that “the letter kills,” so completely has the worship of it killed the faculty of the perception of divine things. And he insists accordingly that only through the revival of Mysticism can the true Christianity – that, namely, of Christ – be restored.


Mysticism and Occultism. – These terms are so far identical in that they are respectively the Greek and the Latin for that which, by its nature, is hidden or secret as concerns the outer perceptions. But they differ essentially in respect of the particular region or department of the hidden and secret to which they respectively refer. Occultism deals with the region and its phenomena which, being interior to the body and exterior to the soul, constitutes the astral or magnetic circulus which separates one from the other, and is the immediate environment of the soul. And Mysticism deals with principles, processes, and states which, being interior to the soul and comprising the spirit, determine the soul’s progress and condition. This is to say, that Occultism implies transcendental physics, and belongs to the kingdom of science and the intellect, and is “human.” And Mysticism implies transcendental metaphysics, and belongs to the kingdom of religion and the intuition, and is divine. Of these two kingdoms the typical representatives are, respectively, the Adept and the Christ. By which explanation is illustrated this utterance made to Anna Kingsford by her divine illuminator: “If Occultism were all, and held the key of heaven, there would be no need of Christ. (...) If the adepts in Occultism or in physical

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science could suffice to man, I would have committed no message to you” (pp. 63, 64).


Noumenon. – See under Arche.


Polarisation. – Every particle of matter, however minute or tenuous, whether fixed or fluidic, has two magnetic poles, a positive and a negative. Polarisation, as the term is applied in this book and in The Perfect Way, consists in the arrangement of the particles constituting any entity, in such order as to bring each pole of every particle into immediate conjunction with the opposite pole of another particle – the positive in one joining on to the negative in another – so as to admit of the passage of a continuous current of energy throughout the whole series.


Regeneration. – This term implies much more than is ascribed to it by the theological dictionaries, and the failure to understand it has been the cause of all the perversions of Christianity. For, had the doctrine of salvation through regeneration, so emphatically asserted by Jesus to Nicodemus, been duly comprehended, no place had been found for the orthodox presentation either of the Incarnation or of the atonement. For it means simply and purely the re-formation or reconstitution of the individual out of the spiritual substance of his soul, instead of the created material of his body. Such a man is interior, mystic, spiritual, and the elaboration of him occurs in the body as in a matrix constituted of coarser elements, the efficient cause being the operation of the Divine Spirit in the soul, he himself co-operating with it; and when fully elaborated he can dispense altogether with the body as well as with all other elements exterior to the soul; or, if the process be accomplished while in the body, he can indraw and transmute his body into spirit. The individual thus produced is said to be son at once of God and of man. He is son of man, because a product of humanity; and He is Son of God because generated immediately by the Divine energy. And he is said to be also son of a woman, and this a virgin, because he is produced of the soul and constituted of the substance of the soul, and the soul is mystically called the woman, as being the feminine element in man’s nature, and “mother” of the man, and when pure from materiality is called virgin, being named Maria after the boundless sea of space, the substance at once of herself and of Deity.

Wherefore the saying of Jesus, “Ye must be born again of Water and of the Spirit,” is a declaration, first, that it is necessary to every one who would be saved, sooner or later to be born in the manner in which He Himself, as a typical Man Regenerate, is said to have been born; and, next, that the gospel narrative of His birth is, really, a presentation, symbolical and dramatic, of the process of regeneration, having no physical significance whatever, the Christ Jesus in and through whom salvation occurs, being no other than the regenerated spiritual selfhood in each person (see The Perfect Way, v, 45).

Failing to comprehend the true doctrine of atonement, and to recognise its identity with that of regeneration, the church visible has altogether set aside regeneration, and in the place both of

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regeneration and the true at-one-ment with God thereby, has rested everything on the false doctrine of the atonement.


Resurrection. – This term is used in Scripture in various senses, none of which is that commonly supposed, since there is no resurrection of the dead and disintegrated body. The current belief has arisen through the preference of the letter to the spirit, exercised in complete disregard both of the ideas intended to be conveyed by the writers of the mystical Scriptures, and of the facts of existence. Thus, the “graves” of John v, 28, imply only the lowermost strata, or modes, of consciousness, the material and astral, in which during its earth-life the soul is regarded as buried, and the resurrection of verse 29 is the soul’s awakening to the recognition of the destiny it has incurred through its behaviour during such period. There is a resurrection that occurs while in the body – the resurrection from the “death in trespasses and sins,” to the consciousness of things spiritual and to a consequent life of holiness. The “First Resurrection” (Apoc. xx, 5, 6) consists in the redemption of the body, while yet alive, from liability to death, by means of its transmutation or indrawal into its original spiritual substance (see Part I, No. XXI, and II, No. V). They who attain to this resurrection are called first-fruits – first, that is, in rank (Apoc. xiv, 4). They are the fully manifested Christs who are glorified in the hymn to Phoibos. Paul craved this distinction, but failed through his inability to obtain the requisite mastery over the elements of his body.

The other, or second, resurrection, consists in the investment of the soul with a spiritual body which shall serve it as an indestructible environment after the termination of its association with the material and astral. Being evolved immediately from the soul itself it constitutes, not a body raised, but a raised body.


Second Coming of Christ. – A careful reading of verses 54 and 58 of Part II, No. V, shows that they do not necessarily imply a return of the actual Jesus of the Gospels, but that their sense will be satisfied by such a manifestation anew of the Christ-principle as shall comprise an exhibition of power such as that which constituted the “Ascension.” This is the “Resurrection” – in the sense of the transmutation – of the body through its indrawal by the Spirit. For they in and by whom this process is enacted, are of the order, and bear the title, of Christ Jesus.

Such an event would not itself constitute the “Second Coming,” but only the crowning demonstration of that coming. The coming will consist in the revelation anew of the Christ-idea in such wise that it shall be so fully understood as shall render possible the demonstration above described. In this sense the Second Coming may be affirmed to be already actually in progress, seeing that the Christ-idea is now, for the first time in the Church’s history, being understood and made known in its true sense. This is the sense in which it constitutes the “eternal gospel” of the passage chosen for motto to this book, inasmuch as that only is eternal which, in virtue of its being purely spiritual, and inherent in the nature of Being, and therefore perfectly logical, subsists independently of time, person, and place, and even of matter itself (as see Part I, No. III).

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This passage has been widely accepted as referring to the promulgation of the Scriptures under the Reformation. But seeing that only their letter was then promulgated, while their spirit was altogether reserved, its proper reference must be to a promulgation which for its disclosure of the latter, can alone be accounted a real promulgation. In this view it is the intelligent appreciation of the Christ-idea, now first made known, that is implied in the declaration that “the Son of Man shall be seen coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”; – “heaven” and the “clouds of heaven” being mystical terms denoting man’s higher reason, the microcosmic heaven within the individual.


Sons of God. – See under Regeneration.



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