BY THE SAME AUTHOR
THE ANGELIC HIERARCHY
Fairies at Work and at Play. English and French Editions.
The Kingdom of Faerie.
The Brotherhood of Angels and of Men.
Be Ye Perfect.
The Angelic. Hosts.
Man, The Triune God.
The Supreme Splendour.
The Coming of the Angels.
The Kingdom of the Gods. Illustrated.
THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
First Steps on the Path.
Thus Have I Heard.
Meditations on the Occult Life. English and German Editions.
The Pathway to Perfection.
The Inner Side of Chur ch Worship.
THE POWERS LATENT IN MAN
The Science of Seership. English and French Editions.
Clairvoyance and the Serpent Fire.
Occult Powers in Nature and in Man.
Man’s Supersensory and Spiritual Powers.
The Soul’s Awakening. American Edition.
A Yoga of Light. English, Danish and Spanish Editions.
Some Experiments in Four-Dimensional Vision.
The Psychedelic and the Yogic Pathways to Reality.
THE THEOSOPHICAL PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
Theosophy Answers Some Problems of Life.
Vital Questions Answered.
Reincarnation, Fact or Fallacy? Indian, American and Arabic Editions.
The Miracle of Birth.
The Spiritual Significance of Motherhood. English and Spanish Editions.
Through the Gateway of Death.
The Seven Human Temperaments.
The School of the Wisdom Lecture Notes, Vol. I (Revised Edition).
INTERPRETATIONS OF SCRIPTURES AND MYTHS
The Hidden Wisdom in the Holy Bible, Vols. I. II and III, Indian and American Editions.
The Hidden Wisdom in the Christian Scriptures. American Edition.
The Divine Wisdom in the Christian Scriptures. New Zealand Edition.
Health and the Spiritual Life.
New Light on the Problem of Disease.
An Occult View of Health and Disease.
The Way to Perfect Health, Spiritual, Mental and Physical.
Radiant Health From a Meat-free Dietary.
Plant Foods, Their Nutrient Properties.
The Case for Vegetarianism.
An Animal’s Bill of Rights.
The Humanitarian Cause, Its Extreme Urgency.
Animals and Men. The Ideal Relationship.
Authentic Stories of Intelligence in Animals.
Our Friends the Animals.
THE HIDDEN WISDOM
IN THE HOLY BIBLE
THE GOLDEN GRAIN OF WISDOM IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS
(Genesis—Chapters One to Twenty-five)
THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE
Adyar, Madras 600 020, India
Wheaton, III., U.S.A. • London, England
© The Theosophical
Publishing House, 1967
First Edition 1967
Second and Revised Edition 1972
Printed at the Vasanta Press
The Theosophical Society,
Adyar, Madras 600 020, India.
“WHICH THINGS ARE AN ALLEGORY”
FROBLEMS ARISING FROM A LITERAL READING OF THE BIBLE, AND SOME SOLUTIONS
INTERPRETATION OF FIVE EPISODES FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS
EDEN, EVE AND THE “FALL” OF MAN
THE DIVINE LIFE AS THE PRODIGAL SON
SATAN AND THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
ADAM, EVE, THE GARDEN OF EDEN AND THE “FALL” OF MAN
“IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH”
WATER, DRY LAND, FISHES AND BEASTS OF THE EARTH
MAN CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
THE SERPENT, THE “FALL” AND THE EXPULSION FROM EDEN
CAIN, ABEL, NOAH, THE ARK, THE FLOOD, THE TOWER OF BABEL AND THE GENERATIONS OF SHEM
“THE WATERS OF THE FLOOD WERE UPON THE EARTH”
“...THE WICKEDNESS OF MAN WAS GREAT IN THE EARTH”
“BUT NOAH FOUND GRACE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD”
THE ARK ENTERED AND THE RAVEN AND DOVE RELEASED
DRY LAND APPEARS, AN ALTAR IS BUILT AND NOAH GOES FORTH FROM THE ARK
NOAH, HIS WIFE, SONS AND GRANDSON PERSONIFY COMPONENTS OF HUMAN NATURE
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF THE ABRAMIC CYCLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
THE ORIGIN OF THE SEMITIC PEOPLE
THE ISRAELITES AS A CHOSEN RACE
ABRAHAM, SARAH, ISAAC AND REBEKAH
ABRAM JOURNEYETH THROUGH CANAAN TO EGYPT
THE BIRTH OF ISHMAEL SARAI, HAGAR AND ISHMAEL
LOT, HIS WIFE AND THE TWO CITIES
ABRAHAM AND SARAH JOURNEY INTO EGYPT
THE BIRTH OF ISSAC – A MYSTICAL NATIVITY
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE BOW AND THE ARROW
ABIMELECH MAKES A COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
ABRAHAM’S RENUNCIATION ON THE MOUNT
THE PRINCIPLE OF THE SUCCESSION OF LOGOI AND PATRIARCHS
THE DEPARTURE OF REBEKAH AND THE DEATH OF ABRAHAM
This work is dedicated to Philo Judaeus, the great Alexandrian Sage.
I acknowledge with gratitude the help in the production of this work received from my wife, Sandra, who at dictation wrote out all the original interpretations of Biblical passages, and is continuing to do so; my valued literary assistant, Myra G. Fraser; and my friend Nell K. Griffith, who for many years cared for my domestic needs and assisted in typing from the first draft of the manuscript. I also wish to express my heartfelt thanks to my valued friends, Roma and Brian Dunningham, for their unfailing support, their provision of stenographers, and their generous help throughout many years of collaboration.
All quotations and references in this work are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
THE HIDDEN WISDOM AND WHY IT IS CONCEALED
The greatest degree of power which occult science can bestow is to be derived from knowledge of the unity and interaction between the Macrocosm and the microcosm, the Universe and man. “The mystery of the earthly and mortal man is after the mystery of the supernal and immortal One”, wrote Eliphas Levi. Lao Tzu also expresses this truth in his words: “The Universe is a man on a large scale.”
The whole Universe with all its parts, from the highest plane down to physical Nature, is regarded as being interlocked, interwoven to make a single whole—one body, one organism, one power, one life, one consciousness, all cyclically evolving under one law. The “organs” or parts of the Macrocosm, though apparently separated in space and plane of manifestation, are in fact harmoniously interrelated, intercommunicative and continually interactive.
According to this revelation of occult philosophy the Zodiac, the Galaxies and their component Systems, and the planets with their kingdoms and planes of Nature, elements, Orders of Beings, radiating forces, colours and notes, are not only parts of a co-ordinated whole and in “correspondence”or mutual resonance with each other, but also—which is of profound significance—have their representations within man himself. This system of correspondences is in operation throughout the whole of the microcosm, from the Monad to the mortal flesh, including the parts of the mechanism of consciousness, or vehicles and their chakras, by means of which the Spirit of man is manifested throughout his whole nature, varying in degree according to the stage of evolutionary development. The human being who discovers this truth could enter the power aspect of the Universe and tap any one of these forces. He would then become endowed with almost irresistible influence over both Nature and his fellow men.
H.P. Blavatsky writes:
“The danger was that such doctrines as the Planetary Chain, or the seven Races, at once give a clue to the seven-fold nature of man, for each principle is correlated to a plane, a planet, and a race, and the human principles are, on every plane, correlated to seven-fold occult forces, those of the higher planes being of tremendous power. So that any septenary division at once fives a clue to tremendous occult powers, the abuse of which would cause incalculable evil to humanity; a clue which is, perhaps, no clue to the present generation—especially to Westerns, protected as they are by their very blindness and ignorant materialistic disbelief in the occult—but a clue which would, nevertheless, have been very real in the early centuries of the Chr istian era to people fully convinced of the reality of Occultism, and entering a cycle of degradation which made them rife for abuse of occult powers and sorcery of the worst description.
“The documents were concealed, it is true, but the knowledge itself and its actual existence was never made a secret of by the Hierophants of the Temples, wherein the MYSTERIES have ever been made a discipline and stimulus to virtue. This is very old news, and was repeatedly made known by the great Adepts, from Pythagoras and Plato down to the Neo- Platonists. It was the new religion of the Nazarenes that wrought a change—for the worse—in the policy of centuries.”
In his Toga Aphorisms, Patanjali writes:
“The (successful) ascetic acquires complete control over the elements by concentrating his mind upon the five classes of properties in the manifested universe; as, first, those of gross or phenomenal character; second, those of form; third, those of subtle quality; fourth, those susceptible of distinction as to light, action, and inertia; fifth, those having influence in their various degrees for the production of fruits through their effects upon the mind.
“From the acquirement of such power over the elements there results to the ascetic various perfections, to wit, the power to project his inner-self into the smallest atom, to expand his inner-self to the size of the largest body, to render his material body light or heavy at will, to give indefinite extension to his astral body or its separate members, to exercise an irresistible will upon the minds of others, to obtain the highest excellence of the material body, and the ability to preserve such excellence when obtained.
“Excellence of the material body consists in colour, loveliness of form, strength, and density.”
This knowledge of the relationship between Universe and man is also part of the secret wisdom of Kabbalism, which teaches that in the chain of being everything is magically contained within everything else. Where one stands, there stand all the worlds; what is below is above, what is inside is outside and, in addition, ceaselessly acts upon all that exists. Kabbalism thus stresses the inter-relationship of all worlds and levels of being according to exact, though unfathomable, laws. All things, moreover, possess their infinite depths which from every point may be contemplated.
Such is a portion of the wisdom which is said to be implicit—and, indeed, revealed under the veil of allegory—in the Torah This sacred book is for Kabbalists a revelation of the laws of the Cosmos and the intimate and active relationship between the parts of the Cosmos, the Spirit of man, and the vehicles in which that Spirit is incarnate. The historv of the Jews forms a foundation upon which the edifice of this secret knowledge is erected. Modern Christian theology would seem to have fallen into the grievous error of regarding the sub-structure of meta- phoricised history as a total and divinely inspired revelation of God’s guidance to mankind.
The mission of the Jews and the purpose of the erudite and Initiated authors of the Bible was, I submit, to preserve, to enunciate and to deliver to humanity this wisdom of the Chaldeo-Hebrew Sanctuaries. It is for this and not for lordship over the Earth, I suggest, that the Jews were a chosen people, a nation or “kingdom of priests” in very truth. May not their tribulations have partly arisen from their neglect of this mission, and may not their earthly wanderings and centuries of physical homelessness have followed upon.and resulted from their departure from their true Sanctuary and the real purpose for which they were “chosen”? Happily the light still shines, however deeply veiled, in and through this marvellous record of the Scriptures of the Hebrew Race.
The task of unveiling the hidden truth demands some knowledge of Cosmogenesis, of the emanation of the Universe from the Absolute, the finite from the Infinite, and of the successive cycles, major and minor, of involution and evolution. In addition, both knowledge of the Symbolical Language, its purposes, methods and classical symbols, and the faculty of analysing and interpreting historical metaphors, are necessary to open the casket containing the treasures of concealed wisdom—the Holy Bible itself.
“Where the Word found that things done according to the history could be adapted to these mystical senses, he made use of them, concealing from the multitude the deeper meaning; but where in the narrative of the development of super-sensual things, there did not follow the performance of those certain events which were already indicated by the mystical meaning, the Scripture interwove in the history the account of some event that did not take place, sometimes what could not have happened; sometimes what could, but did not.”
De Principiis, Origen, Christian philosopher and Biblical scholar, famed for his teaehing at Alexandria and Caesarea (C. 185 —C. 254 a.d.).
“What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second and third days in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun, moon and stars, and the first day without a heaven? What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in Paradise, in Eden, like a husbandman, and planted therein the tree of life, perceptible to the eyes and senses, which gave life to the eater thereof; and another tree which gave to the eater thereof a knowledge of good and evil? I believe that every man must hold these things for images, under which the hidden sense lies concealed.”
Origen: Huet., Origeniana, 167, Fianck, p. 142.
“Every time that you find in our books a tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit.”
Moses Maimonedes, Jewish theologian, historian, Talmudist, philosopher and physician (1135-1205 A.D.).
“Woe... to the man who sees in the Thorah i.e., Law, only simple recitals and ordinary words! Because, if in truth it only contained these, we would even today be able to compose a Thorah much more worthy ©f admiration... The recitals of the Thorah are the vestments of the Thorah. Woe to him who takes this garment for the Thorah itself!... There are some foolish people who, seeing a man covered with a beautiful garment, carry their regard no further, and take the garment for the body, whilst there exists a still more precious thing, which is the soul... The Wise, the servitors of the Supreme King, those who inhabit the heights of Sinai, are occupied only with the soul, which is the basis of all the rest, which is Thorah itself; and in the future time they will be prepared to contemplate the Soul of that soul (i.e., the Deity) which breathes in the Thorah.”
Zohar III, 152b. (Soncino Ed. Vol. V, p. 211).
“Rabbi Simeon said: ‘If a man looks upon the Torah as merely a book presenting narratives and everyday matters, alas for him! Such a Torah, one treating with everyday concerns, and indeed a more excellent one, we too, even we, could compile. More than that, in the possession of the rulers of the world there are books of even greater merit, and these we could emulate if we wished to compile some such Torah. But the Torah, in all of its words, holds supernal truths and sublime secrets.’”
Zohar III, 152a
Like unto a beautiful woman hidden in the interior of a palace who, when her friend and beloved passes by, opens for a moment a secret window, and is only seen by him: then again retires and disappears for a long time; so the doctrine shows herself only to the elect, but also not even to these always in the same manner. In the beginning, deeply veiled, she only beckons to the one passing, with her hand; it simply depends (on himself) if in his understanding he perceives this gentle hint. Later she approaches him somewhat nearer, and whispers to him a few words, but her countenance is still hidden in the thick veil, which his glances cannot penetrate. Still later she converses with him, her countenance covered with a thinner veil. After he has accustomed himself to her society, she finally shows herself to him face to face, and entrusts him with the innermost secrets of her heart (Sod).”
Zohar II, 99a (Soncino Ed. Vol. Ill, p. 301).
“Jewish mystics are at one in giving a mystical interpretation to the Torah; the Torah is to them a living organism animated by a secret life which streams and pulsates below the crust of its literal meaning; every one of the innumerable strata of this hidden region corresponds to a new and profound meaning of the Torah. The Torah, in other words, does not consist merely of chapters, phrases and words; rather is it to be regarded as the living incarnation of the divine wisdom which eternally sends out new rays of light. It is not merely the historical law of the Chosen People, although it is that too; it is rather the cosmic law of the Universe, as God’s wisdom conceived it. Each configuration of letters in it, whether it makes sense in human speech or not, symbolizes some aspect of God’s creative power which is active in the Universe.”
Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, Gershom G. Scholem.
“A symbol retains its original form and its original content. It does not become, so to speak, an empty shell, into which another content is poured; in itself, through its own existence, it makes another reality transparent which cannot appear in any other form. A mystical symbol is an expressible representation of something which lies beyond the sphere of expression and communication, something which comes from a sphere whose face is, as it were, turned inward and away from us. A hidden and inexpressible reality finds its expression in the symbol. The symbol ‘signifies’ nothing and communicates nothing, but makes something transparent which is beyond all expression. Where deeper insight into the structure of the allegory uncovers fresh layers of meaning, the symbol is intuitively understood all at once—or not at all. The symbol in which the life of the Creator and that of creation become one, is—to use Creuzer’s words—’a beam of light which, from the dark and abysmal depths of existence and cognition, falls into our eye and penetrates our whole being.’ It is a ‘momentary totality’ which is perceived intuitively in a mystical now—the dimension of time proper to the symbol.”
Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, Gershom G. Scholem.
“The shell, the white, and the yolk form the perfect egg. The shell protects the white and the yolk, and the yolk feeds upon the white; and when the white has vanished, the yolk, in the form of the fledged bird, breaks through the shell and presently soars into the air. Thus does the static become the dynamic, the material the spiritual.
“If the shell is the exoteric principle and the yolk the esoteric, what then is the white! The white is the food of the second, the accumulated wisdom of the world centring round the mystery of growth, which each single individual must absorb before he can break the shell. The transmutation of the white, by the yolk, into the fledgling is tha secret of secrets of the entire Qabalistic philosophy.”
The Secret Wisdom of the Qabalah, J. F. C. Fuller.
Having taken the Upanishad as the bow, as the great weapon, let him place on it the arrow, sharpened by devotion! Then having drawn it with a thought directed to that which is, hit the mark, O Friend, namely, that which is Indestructible! Om  is the bow, the Self is the arrow, Brahman is called the aim. It is to be hit by a man who is not thoughtless, and then as the arrow becomes one with the target, he will become one with Brahman.”
Mundaka Upanishad, II.
“Know the Self as the Lord of the chariot and the body as, verily, the chariot; know the intellect as the charioteer and the mind as, verily, the reins.
“The senses, they say, are the horses; the objects of sense the paths (they range over); (the self) associated with the body, the senses and the mind—wise men declare—is the enjoyer.
“He who has no understanding, whose mind is always unrestrained, his senses are out of control, as wicked horses are for a charioteer.
“He, however, who has understanding, whose mind is always restrained, his senses are under control, as good horses are for a charioteer.
“He, however, who has no understanding, who has no control over his mind (and is) ever impure, reaches not that goal but comes back into mundane life.
“He however, who has understanding, who has control over his mind and (is) ever pure, reaches that goal from which he is not born again.
“He who has the understanding for the driver of the chariot and controls the rein of his mind, he reaches the end of the jourrey, that supreme abode of the all-pervading.”
The Kathopanishod 1-3-3- to 1-3-9, Dr. Radha- krishnan’s translation from The Principal Upanishads.
“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
“He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given...
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.”
Matt. 13: 10, 11 and 16.
“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
“For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
“He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
“As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”
Jn. 6: 54-57.
“The early Genesis accounts of the creation, Adam and Eve and the Fall of man contain truths of a religious nature which do not depend for their validity upon historical or scientific confirmation. Such accounts expressed truths of a timeless nature. They were myths, teaching spiritual truths by allegories.”
From a Sermon by The Most Reverend Dr. Frank Woods,
Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, speaking at
St. Paul’s Cathedral on the 18th February, 1961.
The same may well be said of the narratives of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, Luke 4: 1-13 and His agony in the Garden of
Gethsemane. These do not include references to the presence of a third person. Under normal circumstances, however, this would be necessary if record were to be made, preserved and introduced into the Gospel narrative.
Support for a symbolical reading of the Bible also is gained by comparison of the promises of perpetual prosperity and divine protection made by God to Abram and his successors with the subsequent defeats by invaders, exile under their commands in Babylon and Egypt, and the destruction of the Temples of King Solomon and King David. To these misfortunes may be added the later fate of the Hebrew people, including their miseries and homelessness since the Diaspora and the holocaust of German Jews under Nazi rule. This marked divergence between divine assurances and promises on the one hand and what actually happened on the other provides strong grounds for a non-literal reading of the Scriptures.
The alternative of a total rejection of the Pentateuch as being, on the surface, unworthy of serious consideration would, I suggest, involve the loss of invaluable treasures of wisdom which are revealed when the veil of allegory and symbol is removed.
AUTHOR’S PREFACE TO VOLUME TWO
In the first Volume of this series, certain relevant parts of which are reproduced in this one, the theory is advanced that many of the narratives recounted in both the Old and the New Testaments, as also in the inspired portions of the Scriptures and Mythologies of other ancient peoples, contain far more than is apparent on the surface. Undermeanings are said to have been deliberately introduced and are conveyed by the use of a system —widely recognised in ancient times—of so narrating actual events that they also reveal underlying laws governing the emanation, involution and evolution of both Universe and man. To this end the characters of the people in such stories are made to personify Intelligences, forces, procedures and stages of development in the unfolding Universe and the spiritual, intellectual, psychological and physical components of every human being.
Acceptance of this view gives to World Scriptures a far deeper significance than if they were regarded as narratives of physical events alone. This approach also helps to explain the inclusion of passages which either contradict known scientific and historical facts, or else repel because recording criminal, immoral or very cruel actions.
If I seem to apologise too much for condemning the literal meaning of certain passages and advancing possible hidden meanings—and I have been so charged by one reviewer of my first Volume—it is because I remember and do not wish to hurt or harm those to whom orthodox beliefs mean much in their religious life. Having suffered myself from atheistic iconoclasm, I wish to lead my readers along a more pleasant pathway to what.I have come to regard as truth; preferring to win over and persuade to further examination than entirely to crush.
Many Biblical passages do indeed present grave difficulties, particularly when deeds are stated to have been performed either, as in the Old
Testament, at the instance of the Supreme Deity or, as in Mythology, even by deities themselves. Many such textual problems are resolved when the classical keys of interpretation are applied, and the successive Volumes of this work offer some of the results of study of the Scriptures and Mythologies of ancient peoples as if the Sages of old had recorded them in the Sacred Language of Allegory and Symbol.
THE BIBLE OF TODAY
THE Old Testament is a collection of thirty-nine books containing poetry and philosophy, ritual law and social legislation, history, symbolism and metaphysics. Its oldest passages are thought to have been written in the days of Moses (about 1200 B.C.), and its latest parts belong to 200 B.C.
Though now translated into over 1,000 different dialects and languages its original was written in Hebrew, once again the language of a living people dwelling in the State of Israel. More than a hundred authors wrote it, including priests, prophets and social revolutionaries. Whilst the Bible tells the early history of the Jewish people, then still known as Israelites, it differs from all other historical records. First in importance are the Five Books of Moses, known as the Pentateuch (Gr. “five books”) or by the Hebrew term Torah (Heb. “law”). The Torah describes the beginning of the world and the formative history of the Jewish people from Abraham—the first Jew and the creator of the monotheistic Hebrew religion—up to the death of Moses, and contains the Ten Commandments.
The Bible as a whole is not written systematically, however, but is a collection of books of history, historical metaphor, biography, law and poetry, all leading into one another without an apparent plan. The Books of the Prophets include both historical narrative and an anthology of Divine revelations. Those of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings tell the history of the Jewish people from Joshua’s conquest of the Holy Land to the destruction of the first temple by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 b.c.
These Hebrew prophets were the conscience of the people; for in the face of powerful priests and raving multitudes they spoke up with one chief purpose in mind—to teach man “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” (Micah 6: 8). Isaiah writes with dignity and power, condemning social systems which forget the needs of the poor. Amos, a “herdman and a gatherer of sycomore fruit” (Amos, 7: 14), declared God’s judgment upon the nations and upon Israel, also foretelling Israel’s restoration. Jeremiah dedicated himself to God, but was despised and persecuted by the people. He called for peace when nations prepared for war, and demanded an inward religion of sincerity at a time when priests wrere enforcing their orthodox codes.
Altogether the Hebrew Bible contains the writings of three major and twelve minor prophets, so called because the volume of their writings was small compared to that of the major prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah and EzekieJ. The third and last division of the Hebrew’ Bible is called Hagiographa (“sacred writings”). These include the Psalms, Proverbs and The Book of Job.
“WHICH THINGS ARE AN ALLEGORY”
(Cal. IV: 24)
FROBLEMS ARISING FROM A LITERAL READING OF THE BIBLE, AND SOME SOLUTIONS
SINCE comprehension and appreciation of the esoteric teachings contained in the Bible depend upon a knowledge of the Sacred Language, a fuller and more detailed exposition of this particular category of li terature must now be given. At the outset of this task it is recognised that to those who have hitherto regarded the Bible either as divinely inspired or solely as a record of historical events, the idea that it was written in allegory and symbol in order to transmit universal truths to mankind may seem strange and unacceptable.
As the subject is profound, impartial examination and progressive study are essential to its comprehension. Apart from the parables of Jesus, the language of analogy, dramatic allegory and symbol is for many people a little known art form. Vocabulary, grammar and composition must, in consequence, be mastered before the transmitted ideas can be perceived and wholly understood. Time, too, is always required in order to become accustomed to an unfamiliar method of presentation and hitherto unknown aspects of truth.
In the field of the Arts, for example, some training in appreciation is necessary in order to enjoy and understand a great picture and receive the artist’s message. Preparation and experience are needed in order to open the eyes and prepare the mind. This is true also of music. With the exception of those passages—perhaps the slow Movements—which can be readily enjoyed, a Symphony can at first hearing be difficult to comprehend. As one begins to perceive its significance, however, the whole work takes on an added meaning and evokes a new delight. To a child a wonderful jewel is but a glittering toy. He will choose just as readily any shining thing, however tawdry and cheap. A connoisseur in precious stones, on the other hand, sees in them depths of beauty hidden from others, comprehends and appreciates both the stones themselves and, when they have been cut and set, the craftsmanship of the jeweller.
The Language of Allegory and Symbol may, in its turn, be regarded as an art form. One therefore similarly needs to acquire by practice the ability to appreciate the many and varied ways in which it is used and to discover the underlying meanings. Without such preparation allegories and symbols may be wrongly regarded as unnecessary obstructions and their interpretations as arbitrary, or at best far-fetched. Since profound truths are conveyed and spiritual experience, knowledge and power can be obtained by the successful unveiling of the symbolism of the Bible, the student’s preparations must in their turn be not only intellectual, but to some extent spiritual as well. Indeed, such preparations almost assume the character of a vigil.
Whilst many of the incidents in the Bible are doubtless founded upon fact, nevertheless great wisdom and light are also to be discovered within the Scriptural record of historical and pseudo-historical events. When, however, statements are fnade which could not possibly be true, three courses of action present themselves to the reader. He can accept such statements unthinkingly, in blind faith; he may discard them as unworthy of serious consideration; or he may study them carefully in search of possible under-meanings and revelations of hitherto hidden truths. Incidents such as the passage of three days and nights and the appearance on Earth of vegetation before creation of the sun, and the action of Joshua in making the sun and moon stand still, cannot possibly have Occurred. Here, as in so many other places, the Bible piles the incredible upon the impossible. If, however, the intention was not to record supposed astronomical facts or historical events alone, but also to reveal abstract, universal and mystical truths and to give guidance in finding and treading “The way of holiness”, and if night, sun and moon are but concrete symbols of abstract ideas, then the outwardly meaningless narrative may reveal inward truth and light. Before that truth and light can be perceived, the veil of allegory must be lifted and the symbols interpreted; for, as already stated, partly in order to render abstract ideas comprehensible by expressing them in concrete form and also to safeguard the truth and reveal it when the time should be ripe, the Teachers of ancient days deliberately concealed within allegory and symbol the deep, hidden wisdom of which they had become possessed.
My own studies have led me to the conviction that the authors of the Scriptures saw eternal truths mirrored in events in time. For them, illumined as they were, every material happening was alight with spiritual significance. They knew the outer world for what it is—the shadow of a great reality. They could say with Elizabeth Browning: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God”, and with her would add” but only he who sees, takes off his shoes.”  Their records of the history of the Universe and of the Earth—the Scriptures of the world—portray far more than events in time; they reveal in concrete and therefore more readily understandable form of eternal truths, ultimate reality, universal occurrences. Sometimes the real was more visible to them than the shadow, whereupon history took second place. At other times the record of physical events predominated.
This concept of the purposes and the method of the ancient writers is advanced in this work as being the key to the mystical study of the Bible, the clue to the discovery of the inexhaustible treasures of wisdom and truth concealed within the casket of exoteric Scriptures. The spiritual Teachers of long ago, by using historical events as well as allegories and symbols, proved themselves able to overcome the limitations of time. They recorded history in such a way as to reveal to readers of their own and later times the deeper truths of life. Even thousands of years after their death such Teachers are able to give to mankind both guidance along the pathway of spiritual illumination and solutions of many human problems. Nevertheless a measure of concealment from the profane of truths which they desired to impart to the worthy, and to the worthy alone, was forced upon the ancient writers. The motive for such concealment, as earlier stated, was to safeguard both the individual and the race from the dangers of premature discovery and possible misuse of knowledge which could bestow theurgic and thaumaturgic powers. Thus, I believe, came into existence the inspired portions of the legends, Mythologies and Scriptures of the world, many of which are pregnant with spiritual and occult ideas, and therefore with power.
SOME DIFFICULTIES CREATED BY A DEAD LETTER READING OF THE BIBLE
In addition to its value as a vehicle for hidden wisdom, the Sacred Language can prove helpful in solving otherwise insoluble Biblical problems. Whilst belief or faith in the possibility of super-natural intervention makes some Scriptural statements credible, nevertheless physical laws and astronomical facts cannot be changed. Indeed some “miracles” do strain almost beyond reasonable limits one’s power to believe in them. The hydrostatic pressure invisibly exerted in dividing and holding back on either side of a dry bed the waters of the Red Sea and the river Jordan would have involved the use of almost incalculable energy. Nevertheless, if direct theurgic action is presumed to have occurred then these “miracles” would not have been entirely impossible.
The heliocentric system, however, cannot be altered. The sun is at the centre of our Solar System, for which it is the source of light. Planets throughout their orbital motion round the sun revolve in their axes, and without that rotation there could be no alternation of day and night. In spite of this, in the First Chapter of Genesis it is plainly stated that, having brought light into existence and divided it from the darkness, “... God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” An even greater anomaly is added by the further statement that three days and three nights had passed before the sun, moon and stars were created. Such events would have been astronomical impossibilities. Indeed, they could not have happened in the sequence affirmed in Genesis.
“AND IT REPENTED THE LORD THAT HE HAD MADE MAN ON THE EARTH”
The story of Noah and his Ark also presents many grave stumbling blocks. One of these consists of the ideas implicit in verses five, six and seven of the Sixth Chapter of Genesis—namely that an all-loving Father in Heaven could conceive of an imperfect plan which failed, experience wrath at that failure, and with insensate cruelty decide to destroy “both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air...“ In their literal reading these statements are an affront to reason. The assertion that God could be guilty of such actions and could later be moved to make the promises not to “again curse the ground any more for man’s sake” or “again smite any more every thing living”, is either an erroneous ascription to the Deity of conduct of which even man would not be guilty or else a deliberately constructed blind for the concealment of an underlying truth.
The concept is inconceivable, surely, that there could be in existence a single, extra-cosmic, personal God Who could Himself fail as a Creator of mankind ajid then be destructively wrathful at the wicked conduct of a human, race which was solely and entirely the product of His own creation. Such a conclusion is strengthened by the divine proclamation that man was made in God’s image. It is similarly inconceivable that the conjoined Elohim (wrongly translated as “God” in Genesis) could be capable either of imperfection in the planning and fulfilment of Their cosmic functions or of wrath at a failure which was solely attributable to Themselves. In the presence of such affronts to human reason, acceptance of the concept of the use of a special category of literature known as the Sacred Language is surely preferable to either blind faith or total unbelief in the Bible on account of the inconsistencies and errors which a literal reading of certain passages could bring about. Such rejection of the whole Bible with its inspiring message of the existence of a Supreme Being as the Directive Intelligence in Nature, on account of incredibilities and impossibilities found in certain passages, would indeed be a mistake. The great scientist, Dr. Albert Einstein, evidently felt himself to be under no necessity to make this rejection, for he wrote: “That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power (italics mine, G.H.) which is revealed in the incomprehensible Universe, forms my idea of God.” Nevertheless, the actions attributed to the Deity in the Biblical verses under review certainly do not present Him in the guise of a “superior reasoning power”.
To return to the Biblical account of the Flood; if, as is indicated in several places, the Flood covered the whole of the Earth and if all the water in the atmosphere had thus been added to all the water in the oceans, the mixture would have been indistinguishable from’ sea water. In such case no animal that lived on Earth would have been able to drink it and survive, whilst in addition all land plants would have died. In consequence the inhabitants of the Ark would have had neither food nor water to sustain them after they landed.
Furthermore, Noah would have found it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to collect animals and fowls from the four quarters of the Globe and persuade them to begin travelling towards the Middle East from many parts of the Earth—arctic, temperate, subtropical and tropical. In many cases this would have demanded the crossing of thousands of miles of ocean. Indeed, such incredibilities need hardly be mentioned save to underscore the absurdities into which a literal reading of the Bible can lead one, and to provide support for the approach advanced in this work. The sloth, for instance, which travels with extreme slowness— hence its name, perhaps—would have needed to begin its journey long before the onset of the Flood in order to reach the Ark in time. This would also apply to other animals travelling from great distances. In addition, the task of housing and feeding so large a number of animals throughout forty days and forty nights would have presented grave, if not insurmountable, difficulties.
The Scriptural account (A.V.) distinctly states that the animals and fowls were so collected together as to ensure that on arrival at the Ark in readiness to enter it they could be arranged in a certain numerical order. Their classification into categories, and the number of each class to be selected, is indicated thus: “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female...”
The Revised Version, however, corrects the seeming anomalies by translating from the original as follows:
2. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate;
3. And seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive upon the face of all the earth. (R.V.)
The possible underlying significante of the story itself and of the numbers introduced into it will be considered at the appropriate place in the text.
“THE LORD DID CONFOUND THE LANGUAGE OF ALL THE EARTH”
The story of the Tower of Babel—especially verses six, seven, eight and nine of the Eleventh Chapter of the Book of Genesis—would seem to imply that the Supreme Deity is deliberately and callously responsible for the major sufferings of mankind, rooted as they are in the human delusion of self-separated individuality and consequent egoism. According to verses six and seven-many evil works by man upon man, including individual and organised crime and the waging of innumerable wars, arose and still arise from the two supposed actions of a personal Deity. The first of these was to confound human language so that men could no longer understand one another’s speech, and the second to scatter humanity abroad upon the face of the Earth. Such supposed divine actions can, indeed, legitimately be regarded as having been major causes of those human errors which are born of individualism and self-separateness. The attribution to the Supreme Deity of motive and conduct so detrimental to humanity as to make difficult for long ages the attainment of harmonious human relationships between groups, nations and races of men upon earth, is totally unacceptable to the thoughtful and reverent mind. The study of the Bible less as literal history, and far more as a revelation of fundamental truths by means of historical metaphors and allegories, thus receives strong support from the passages concerning the building of the Tower of Babel.
“AND THEY (LOT’S DAUGHTERS) MADE THEIR FATHER DRINK WINE THAT NIGHT...”
Incredibility apart, the obscenity—such as the drunkenness of Lot and the incest (admittedly unconscious on his part) with his two daughters —and the attribution to the Supreme Deity of the human weakness of anger, jealousy and bloodthirstiness as evinced by “His” encouragement of the Israelites to attack and massacre the animals, men, women and children of other tribes—these, with all the other Biblical incongruities, must in their turn be repellant to thoughtful and sensitive minds.
A great many other passages could be referred to, including verses seventeen and eighteen of the Nineteenth Chapter of Revelation, which read as follows:
17. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18. That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
“SUN, STAND THOU STILL UPON GIBEON”
Since the rotation of the Earth causes night and day and the sun does not move round the Earth, Joshua could not by any means have lengthened the day by making the sun and the moon stand still. The prolongation of day or of night by the arrest of the motion of either sun or Earth (the moon would not be directly concerned in such a procedure) is a total impossibility; for if the Earth had suddenly stopped turning no human being would have lived to record the event. Every movable object on Earth, including the oceans and the atmosphere, would have continued the normally rotating movement and thus travelled towards the East faster than the speed of sound. Read literally, therefore, the narrative is totally unacceptable.
“NOW THE LORD HAD PREPARED A GREAT FISH TO SWALLOW UP JONAH”
If the Prophet Jonah—to take another example—had actually spent three days and three nights in the stomach of a large mammal like a whale, digestive secretions and processes would have rendered it most unlikely that he could have remained alive and unaffected throughout such a period. This story in its literal reading must in its turn be regarded as extremely doubtful, if not totally false. The possibility of the existence of a recondite meaning (as, for example, a description of the procedures of Initiation or spiritual regeneration as suggested by the symbol of the fish) will be considered in a later Volume of this work.
Such verses as these are so obviously unacceptable in their literal reading that they scarcely call for comment. The idea therefore receives support that, as already noted, the authors of certain passages in the Bible were spiritually instructed men writing for the following purposes, amongst others: to present abstract ideas in concrete and so more readily comprehensible form; to describe phases of human evolution and their associated psychological and mystical experiences; to evoke wonder and so initiate enquiry; to preserve for posterity profound spiritual, occult and potentially power-bestowing truths, to conceal from the profane knowledge which could be misused, even whilst revealing it to the trustworthy servant of humanity who possesses the keys of interpretation.
In the Sermon on the Mount Christ would seem to have given in allegorical form strict instructions that this last purpose more especially should be followed, for He is reported to have said:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
In order to achieve these objectives—if further repetition be pardoned —the authors of the inspired portions of the world’s Scriptures, allegories and myths used the methods of the Symbolical Language, which include the occasional introduction of inconsistencies as part of the concealing veil.
BIOLOGY, NOMENCLATURE AND THE LIMITATIONS OF TIME
In the New Testament also, difficulties are met if a literal reading of certain passages be adopted. Two of the Evangelists affirm the immaculate conception of Jesus and consequently a virgin birth—medically regarded as a virtual impossibility—whilst the others do not. The genealogies of Jesus as given in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke are totally different and could not apply to the same person. St. Matthew traces His descent through Joseph, which is meaningless in the case of a virgin birth, and St. Luke through Mary.
Further more, the events said to have occurred during the night before the Crucifixion of Jesus are too numerous to have happened within the prescribed time. Here is a list of them: the Last Supper (Lu. XXII: 15-20); the agony in the Garden (Matt. XXVI: 36-46); the betrayal by Judas (Matt. XXVI: 47-50); the questioning, firstly before Annas and Caiaphas (Jn. XVIII: 13-24), secondly before the Sanhedrin (Matt. XXVI: 59-66), thirdly before Pilate (Matt. XXVII: 11-14) and finally in the Hall of Judgment (Jn. XVIII: 28-38)—regardless of the fact that Courts to try malefactors did not usually sit in the middle of the night; the visit to Herod (Lk. XXIII: 7-11), recorded only by St. Luke; the return to Pilate; Pilate’s speeches and his washing of his hands (Matt. XXVII: 11-24); the scourging, the mocking and the arraying of Jesus in a purple robe (Mk. XV: 16-20); the long and painful bearing of the Cross to Golgotha, followed by the Crucifixion (Jn. XIX: 16-18) —all these events could not possibly have occurred in so short a time. According to estimated chronology the arrest of Jesus occurred at midnight on a Thursday, and the Crucifixion at 9-00 A.M. on Good Friday. Biblical accounts of these and many other events present a completely insoluble problem, if only because of the unalterable demands and divisions of time itself; for time and space, or location are inflexible. This list is repeated and a solution of the problems is advanced in the Chapter entitled “Four Major Keys of Interpretation”
SOME ECCLESIASTICAL ADMISSIONS
Although a number of Christian denominations proclaim the Bible to be the verbally inspired word of God, some churchmen frankly recognise the above-mentioned difficulties. Canon T. P. Stevens, Vicar of St. Paul’s
Church, Wimbledon, when explaining his reasons for banning the teaching of certain Old Testament stories in his Sunday Schools, said:
“No matter how many say the Bible should be taught in full, I am not going to do it. Men like Bernard Shaw, Arnold Bennett and H. G. Wells all turned against the Church through wrongful teaching, v/hen they could have been a powerful force to us...
“It takes a man of considerable intelligence to understand the whole of the Bible. Some of the stories are helpful, interesting and lovely, but quite often they deal with rape, murder, lies and brutality, exaggerated nationalism and war. What purpose is to be served by teaching all these unpleasant stories to the young? If they are intelligent they will get the strangest ideas of God.
“I believe the Christian religion is in a state of decline partly because so many people cannot make head or tail of it. Unfortunately the whole (not entirely—G.H.) Christian Church is against me. I am the odd man out over this question.”
A new dark age was foreseen by Dean Inge, as reported in The New Zealand Herald, (8-6-’50): “Dean Inge, ‘The Gloomy Dean is aged 90 today (June 6th)... On the eve of his birthday, the Dean declared:
“We seem to be on the threshold of another dark age... The first thing ought to be to get rid of a good deal of the Old Testament. We are living in an age different from the days when I had a fashionable West End Church, where ladies dripping with pearls and furs would sing the Magnificat with more fervour than a Communist ever sang the Red Flag”.
The Most Reverend Dr. Frank Woods, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, speaking at St. Paul’s Cathedral on the 18th February, 1961, on the early Genesis accounts of the creation, Adam and Eve and the Fall of man, said that Christians should not be dismayed if these were attacked on scientific or historical grounds. They contain truths of a religious nature, he stated, which do not depend for their validity upon historical or scientific confirmation. The Genesis accounts expressed truths of a timeless nature. They were myths, teaching spiritual truths by allegories.
In October, 1962, The New Zealand Herald published a statement by the Rev. Dr. Leslie Weatherhead, a former President of the Methodist Conference and Minister at the famous City Temple, London. In the course of an interview with the Press the Reverend Doctor, who is also the author of a booklet entitled The Case for Reincarnation, said “he would like to go through the Bible being very free with a blue pencil”
Still more recently The Auckland Star (23-3-63) printed a news item concerning a recent book, Honest to God, written by the Bishop of Woolwich, Dr. John Robinson. In this article it is stated that the Bishop makes it clear in his book that, amongst other dogmas, he does not believe in God as a separate Being and that he is agnostic about the Virgin Birth.
Most, if not all, of these difficulties disappear when once it is assumed that the authors’ intention was less to record history alone than also to present cosmogonical, solar, planetary and racial ideas and to describe mystical and psychological conditions and experiences of man. An additional explanation of the otherwise inexplicable presence of these incongruities in the Bible as we know it today is that they were additions, and not part of the original writings. Later interpreters, editors and translators are, by some Biblical scholars, held responsible. My own studies have led me to the conclusion that deliberate interference with original texts, deletions, interpolations, or, successive editings and translations and some deletions, have been partly responsible for the confusion, rendering the literal reading of many portions of the Old Testament entirely unacceptable. Such offensive passages should, I think, be attributed to later writers, totally unillumined and still influenced by local superstitions and primitive moral standards. These crude ideas and evidences of ignorance were, I feel sure, not included in the original inspired revelations. Many of the resultant criticisms can successfully be met, however, and most of the problems solved once the existence of the Sacred Language is accepted and its symbolism applied to difficult passages of World Scriptures and Mythologies.
If this approach be regarded as both permissible and potentially valuable, then the choice of both subject-matter and language made by the original authors of the Scriptures suggests that a recondite meaning exists. Amongst these indications are: the direct intervention in propria bersona of the Supreme Deity; the occurrence of miracles, whether credible or incredible; and the appropriate use of classical symbols such as physical objects and features of the landscape including, for example, mountains, rivers, deserts, gardens, trees, animals and birds. Where these are included in the narrative in a manner and place which appear to suggest an allegorical intention on the part of the writer, then with due caution the method of interpretation herein described and employed may be helpfully applied, particularly to those portions of the Scriptures which are susceptible of such treatment.
As has heretofore been stated, impossibilities appearing in the Bible which bear the imprint of inspiration may, however, in conformity with the allegorical method of writing be part of a deliberately constructed cover or blind—a veil ofincredibility, incongruity, absurdity, inconsequence, fantasy, and even horror. The previously quoted words of Moses Maimonedes, the Jewish theologian and historian, may perhaps usefully be here repeated: “Every time you find in our books a tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit.”
THE TESTIMONY OF EARLY AUTHORITIES
Knowledge of the existence of a secret meaning contained within the Scriptures is openly confessed by Clement of Alexandria (a.d. 150-220 approximately) when he says that the Mysteries of the Faith are not to be divulged to all. “But”, he says, “since this tradition is not published alone for him who perceives the magnificence of the word; it is requisite, therefore, to hide in a Mystery the wisdom spoken, which the Son of God taught.”
Origen is no less explicit concerning the Bible and its symbolical fables. “If we hold to the letter”, he exclaims, “and must understand what stands written in the law after the manner of the Jews and common people, then I should blush to confess aloud that it is God who has given these laws; then the laws of men appear more excellent and reasonable.”
“What man of sense”, he writes, “will agree with the statement that the first, second and third days in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun, moon, and stars, and the first day without a heaven? What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in Paradise, in Eden, like a husbandman, and planted therein the tree of life, perceptible to the eyes and senses, which gave life to the eater thereof; and another tree which gave to the eater thereof a knowledge of good and evil? I believe that every man must hold these things for images, under which the hidden sense lies concealed.”St Paul’s unequivocal statements that the story of Abraham and his two sons is “an allegory” and that “Agar is Mount Sinai” offer Biblical support for the acceptance of certain portions of the Bible as allegorical.
H. P. Blavatsky writes: “Rabbi Simeon Ben-’Jochai’ (sic), the compiler of the Zohar, never imparted the most important points of his doctrine otherwise than orally, and to a very limited number of disciples. Therefore, without the final initiation into the Mercavah, the study of the Kabbalah will be ever incomplete, and the Mercavah can be taught only ‘in darkness, in a deserted place, and after many and terrific trials.’ (the preparation those days of Candidates for Initiation, G.H.). Since the death of that great Jewish Initiate this hidden doctrine has remained, for the outside world, an inviolate secret.
“Among the venerable sect of the Tanaim, or rather the Tananim, the wise men, there were those who taught the secrets practically and initiated some disciples into the grand and final Mystery. But the Mishna Hagiga, 2nd Section, say that the table of contents of the Mercaba ‘must only be delivered to wise old ones.’ The Gemara is still more dogmatic.
‘The more important secrets of the Mysteries were not even revealed to all priests. Alone the initiates had them divulged.’ And so we find the same great secrecy prevalent in every ancient religion.
“What says the Kabbalah itself? Its great Rabbis actually threaten him who accepts their sayings verbatim. We read in the Zohar: ‘woe... to the man who sees in the Thorah, i.e., Law, only simple recitals and ordinary words! Because if in truth it only contained these, we would even to-day be able to compose a Thorah much more worthy of admiration. For if we find only the simple words, we would only have to address ourselves to the legislators of the earth, to those in whom we most frequently meet with the most grandeur. It would be sufficient to imitate them, and make a Thorah after their words and example. But it is not so; each word of the Thorah contains an elevated meaning and a sublime mystery... The recitals of the Thorah are the vestments of the Thorah. Woe to him who takes this garment for the Thorah itself... The simple take notice only of the garments or recitals of the Thorah, they know no other thing, they see not that which is concealed under the vestment. The more instructed men do not pay attention to the vestment, but to the body which it envelops.’ “
The story of the cursing of the fig tree  may here be taken as an example of an account of a somewhat unlikely event which, when interpreted as an allegory, becomes not only acceptable but also a source of illumination. It seems un-Christlike to curse the fig tree, and still more so since the act was performed in the early Spring before the Passover when, being out of season, the tree could not have had any figs upon it. Indeed, the story may rightly be regarded as self-contradictory, even absurd. In that very absurdity, however, is said to be both a clue to the meaning and an encouragement to look for the wisdom concealed within the supposed narrative of events;
The world’s allegories are, in fact, less records of events in time and place than both descriptions of interior experiences and enunciations of universal laws. Simply put, the particular law here referred to is that if all living things and beings—including races, nations and men—do not share the fruits of their lives they will metaphorically, wither away and die. Applied to the individual, the person who seeks to have, to hold and to hoard for himself alone the fruits of his life—his material possessions and his discovered wisdom, truth and power—giving nothing to others, will inevitably find that his own life, outer and inner, stagnates and then atrophies.
SELFLESS GIVING BRINGS SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
Attention is thus drawn to a further mysterious law—it might be called “the law of flow”—under which he who wisely and unselfishly gives of himself gains a more abundant life. Obedience to this law brings not loss but gain, not death but everlasting life. Inversely, disobedience of this law brings not gain but loss, not life but death. This has been repeatedly demonstrated throughout the history of both nations and individuals. The same principle is allegorically presented in the story of Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son Isaac. The act was supposedly to be performed as a sign of complete submission to the will of the Lord; yet even whilst Abraham’s arm was raised to strike, an angel stayed his hand and later he found a substituted sacrifice in the form of a ram. The incident allegorically portrays the truth that once complete readiness is shown wisely to surrender self and treasured personal possessions in pursuance of an ideal way of life, or in the service of the Lord, then the sacrifice is not demanded.
This principle is fundamental for it is the law by which the Universe subsists. The Logos Himself nourishes and sustains the Solar System by the perpetual outpouring, self-giving, “self-emptying” (kenosis, Gr.) of His own life. This kenosis (the self-emptying attitude of mind and mode of life) is a key-note in the Christian religion. It is applied to the life of the disciple by Our Lord in His words: “... he that hateth his life in this woild shall keep it unto life eternal”, and “... Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground arid die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” The neophyte must become “the wheat of Christ”, as a Christian mystic has said.
The poverty of the Nativity of Jesus, the surrender to Pilate, to the Jews and to Crucifixion, the exposure of the Sacred Heart, the endurance of open wounds and the piercing of the skin, are all symbols of this attitude of uttermost selflessness towards life. Such self-emptying, such entirely self-forgetting love and such figurative death are necessary, it is said, for the attainment of a more abundant life. To “die” to the sense of separated individuality, to outgrow egoism and possessiveness—this is to live unto life eternal. Mysterious, and even contradictory, though such a statement appears, it is nevertheless thought by mystics to be one of the greatest truths ever uttered.
Apparently we are in the presence of a strange law. In order to live the larger life in imitation of the Great Exemplar, the Lord of Love, we must die to self-desire, pour ourselves out in selfless sacrifice and service and surrender self for love’s sake. Universal love is the only true way to eternal life, because it involves “self-emptying” of self. Self-forgetfulness is the basis of all spirituality. Every sincere esotericist is faced with this truth and with necessity, and the renunciation so often seems to be of that which we hold most dear.
Applied to the Logos, these words “self-emptying” and “dying” are not to be taken as wholly expressing the truth; for, of course, the Logos does not ever become empty, nor does “He” ever really die. Indeed, the Logos is ever Self-renewed from a higher dimension. Similarly the sun, which in occult philosophy is regarded as His physical “heart”, does not exhaust itself despite its immeasurable outpouring, for proportionate inpouring or upwelling occurs. This is also true in every walk of life whether secular or spiritual.
REVELATION OF TRUTH BY MEANS OF ALLEGORY
In relating the incident of the withered fig tree, the author of the Gospel according to St. Matthew appears to have enunciated this principle in the form of an otherwise unacceptable story describing a supposed action of the Lord of Love which brought about the cessation of the life of a tree. A profound spiritual truth of the greatest significance to every neophyte of every age who seeks to discover the “strait gate” and enter upon the narrow way is thus portrayed by means of a miniature drama, an allegory concealing—to guard against unwise application of the law to necessary material possessions, for example—the all-important principle that life is not lost, but fulfilled, by renunciation. This interpretation is supported by the fact that after the incident Our Lord went on to refer to the nature and range of the tremendous powers attainable by those who enter upon the Path of Discipleship and Initiation, saying:
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but olso if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the acclamation by the crowd, commemorated by the Church as Palm Sunday, which immediately preceded the withering of the fig tree, indicated that a certain spiritual advance had been made, a triumph of Spirit over flesh, of the Christ power over mind, emotions, vitality and physical body—the lower quaternary (the docile ass)—and the multitude of habits, desires and appetites (the responsive crowd) inherent in the substance of the physical and superphysical bodies. Jerusalem is a symbol of the state of awareness of the Divine Self or Ego in the Causal Body, the universalised consciousness of an immortal, spiritual being. Entry into Jerusalem portrays realisation of the Self as divine, eternal, indestructible and universal. Absence, and especially exile, from a city may imply being temporarily or permanently cut off from a spiritual state of consciousness. The heavenly city, “the city of the living God”, is thus a symbol of the Augoeides, the Kdrana Sharira (Sk.), the Robe of Glory of the Gnostics, in which the self-radiant divine fragment, the Monad-Ego, abides and is self-manifest at the level of the spiritualised intelligence of man.
If it be objected—as would be very natural—that too much is being deduced from so simple and so briefly described an incident as the withering of the fig tree, firstly it can be repeated that a literal reading presents one with an unacceptable attribute in the character of the Christ, Who described Himself as a life-giver and not a death-dealer; for He said:
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Secondly, in its literal meaning the incident introduces a meaningless and somewhat repellent exercise of thaumaturgic power such as was and still is displayed, for example, by the medicine men of primitive peoples and by some, though by no means all, of the Tohungas of the Maoris of New Zealand.
Whilst it is admitted that the fact that one idea is preferable to another is no proof of its verity, the cumulative evidence obtained by this and similar interpretations of a very great number of Bible stories is so strong as almost to amount to proof. When to this is added the avowed intention of ancient writers, as evidenced by the quotations which appear at the front of this Volume, and the strongly worded command of the Christ to conceal from the profane, and yet reveal to the worthy, power-bestowing knowledge and “the mystery of the Kingdom of God” (pearls) which could be dangerous in the wrong hands (swine), then the case for the existence and use of the Sacred Language would seem to be unassailable.
SOME KEYS OF INTERPRETATION
While the preceding chapter contains introductory examples of the use of the symbolical language and methods of interpretation, in this Chapter a fuller exposition is offered. This is very necessary, for those who would discover the truths concealed within the Scriptures of the world should first acquaint themselves with the various keys to the symbolical writings. Then, reading each story very carefully, giving special attention to the symbols employed, they should dwell in concentrated thought upon its various parts, meditatively seeking the reality behind the shadow, the eternal truth within the story in time; for successful interpretation is primarily an experience in consciousness.
Certain age-old symbols serve as signposts on the way, each with its meaning constant throughout all time, as the doctrine everywhere revealed is constant also. The Hierophants of Egypt, Chaldea, Assyria and Greece, the sages of the Eastern world and the inspired authors of the Bible all made use of these symbols as living, time-free ideographs which questing men of every age might comprehend, Nations, civilisations and religions rise and fall, but these earthly symbols of spiritual truths are ageless and unchanging. By their use an Egyptian Hierophant, a Jewish Prophet, an Essene monk, an Eastern sage, may speak direct from the remote past to the mind of modern man.
The authors who wrote in this allegorical manner wished to reveal Macrocosrnic and microcosmic truths, to describe supersensuous conditions of consciousness. They used history only as weft and warp on which to weave a representation of everlasting verities, the esoteric wisdom of all ages, the deeply occult knowledge of the Initiates of the Mystery Schools of both ancient and more modern days. Time and the world of time were of far less importance to these inspired authors than eternity and the eternal truths of which they wrote.
When we open our Bible, then, we should remember that we are reading a special category of literature, foreign to us at first. In order to discover the intention of the authors we need to learn he meaning of the words, to understand the method of writing and to possess the keys of interpretation. We must, indeed, find a Rosetta stone. Then, as we learn to lift the veil of allegory, symbol, imagery, and even incongruity, the light of truth will illumine our minds.
The foregoing enunciation of the principal theme of this work, namely that the inspired portions of World Scriptures and Myths are allegorical in character, may now be followed by a statement of four of the seven possible keys of interpretation and their Macrocosmic and microcosmic applications to a number of such passages.
The first key is that some narratives of supposedly historical events are also descriptive of subjective experiences of races, nations and individuals; in this sense, all happens within. When this key is “turned”, certain stories are found to have at least two possible underlying meanings. One of these refers to the experiences and attainments of those advancing by the normal evolutionary method, and the other to mystics who are treading the Way of Holiness or Path of Swift Unfoldment.
The need for the veiling of magical and occult knowledge in allegory and symbol is especially great in the latter of these two applications of the first key; for, quite early in the approach to and entry upon the Path, an enhancement of will-power and the mental and psychic faculties begins to be apparent. Premature awakening and development of these supernormal powers, and their employment for purely personal, and especially for destructive, purposes could prove extremely harmful both to those who misuse them and to their fellow men.
“CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY”
The Apostle Paul would seem to have accepted this first key—the mystical interpretation. For him the Nativity of. Christ, for example, is not only a particular event which occurred at a certain time in Bethlehem, but also refers to a universal human experience. The narratives of the Annunciation, the Immaculate Conception and the Nativity of Christ are so written as also to describe allegorically the gradual awakening of Christ-like powers of perception within the Soul of advanced man. For St. Paul evidently, the birth and activities of the Lord Christ were descriptive of the interior awakening and perfecting of the inherent, redemptive Christ- power and nature within man. Thus he wrote: “... I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you”  and “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
As the student of the Bible reads the great narratives with this key in his hand, as it were, he may even himself share in the recorded experiences. He may ascend “the mount” with Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Jesus and, in however slight a measure at first, begin to participate in their exaltation. With the two dejected disciples he may walk the road to Emmaus, and hear the wise words of their temporarily unknown Companion. At the description of the breaking of the bread he may then become illumined by that inner light which shone when...their eyes were opened, and they knew him... Such indeed, I suggest, is part of the intention of the inspired authors. As one studies the Scriptures of the world, therefore, one must read intuitively, sensitively, with one’s mind open and responsive to that vaster consciousness which so often seems waiting to burst through. Thus, the first key is that some recorded events also occur interiorly.
PEOPLE PERSONIFY HUMAN QUALITIES
The second key is that each of the dramatis personae introduced into the stories represents a condition of consciousness and a quality of character. All the actors are personifications of aspects of human nature, of attributes, principles, powers, faculties, limitations, weaknesses and errors of man. When purely human beings are the heroes, the life of a person evolving normally is being described. When the hero is semi-divine, however, the accent is upon the hastened progress of the spiritual Self of man, particularly after it has begun to assume preponderant power. When the central figure is an Avatar or “descent” of an Aspect of Deity, the account of His experiences also describes those passed through during the later phases of human evolution to the stature of perfected manhood. Such, I suggest, is the general purpose and such the method of the ancient writers of the world’s immortal allegories, parables and myths.
The Deity or Father when introduced into a narrative generally refers to the highest spiritual Essence in man, the Divine Spark, the Monad, as also to the Oversoul of the race. Those who are following the pathway of Initiation seek to hasten this realisation, first of their divine, immortal nature and thereafter of their unbroken unity with the Supreme Lord of All. This full recognition of man’s unity with God, of the oneness of man-Spirit with God-Spirit, is the ultimate goal for all mankind. In Hinduism this state is called Moksha or Liberation; in Buddhism, Nirvana or conscious absorption; in Christianity, Salvation, Ascension, Christhood.
In this method of Biblical study the characters—divine, semi-divine, patriarchal and human—are thus regarded as personifications of principles and powers of both Nature as the Macrocosm, and of man as the microcosm. Allowances must, however, be made for differing correspondences necessitated by the stories themselves. This reading is supported by St. Paul, who writes:...all these things happened unto them for ensamples” and “... it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman... which things are an allegory...” It is not unreasonable to assume that such a theory may also be true of many other portions of the Bible. One may even go further than this and assert that the practice of studying the Scriptures of the world in their literal meaning, and as records of actual historical events alone, can lead to grave error and serious confusion of mind.
Other errors in modern Christianity urgently need to be corrected, I submit. Amongst these are: the already mentioned degradation of the concept of the Divine Emanator of the Universe to the level of a tribal god; reliance upon an external (instead of an interior) redemptive power; and the erection of a vast though changing theological edifice founded upon dogmas, some of which are based upon a literal reading of the Scriptures.
These difficulties are all avoided, and profound inspiration consistent with reason is gained, by the recognition of a mystical intent and meaning underlying many portions of the Scriptures and Mythologies of the peoples of old. Thus the humility, the devotion and the selfless love of Mary, the Mother of Jesus; the human frailty and the inherent sainthood of a Magdalene and a Peter; the valuable busyness of Martha and, evidently in the eyes of Jesus, the even more valuable, spiritual, contemplative aspects of human nature and modes of life displayed by her sister Mary —all these attributes form part of the character of every individual, the conditions of life drawing out now one and now another. On the surface the remark to Martha, which almost reads like a rebuke, might seem to be somewhat unfair. Apparently, however, Jesus was referring to the fact discovered and taught by every mystic that only in complete quietude of body and mind may the voice of the Master within be heard. Elijah appears to have made this discovery, for after the wind, the earthquake and the fire a silence fell upon him and in that silence he heard the “still small voice”. The Psalmist in his turn received similar guidance from the Lord, Who said to him: “Be still, and know that I am God…
Applying the second key, which is that the dramatis personae of many scriptural narratives represent human characteristics, the twelve disciples of Jesus are found to personify attributes and potentialities of man. For example, a twelvefold classification of them as microcosmic manifestations of the qualities given by astrologers to the Zodiacal Signs is discernible. Discipleship, or nearness to the divine Teacher, indicates that the evolution of the disciple has reached an advanced stage. Ultimately all powers of heart, mind and Spirit will be fully developed. Only as the twelve zodiacal qualities in man are “discipled”—or disciplined and refined—is he able to respond to his own inner spiritual will and to comprehend pure wisdom, both of which are personified by the Master. The Christ Presence and Power—whether asleep as in the ship on Galilee, awakening or being “born” as in the mystical Nativity, or fully grown to “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”—must, however, be added to all human attributes in order to present by means of personification a description of the fully “perfected” man.
The interaction between these various aspects of human nature, the effects they produce upon one another, the waxing or waning of one or more of them at different times and in different lives, and the gradual, triumphant emergence and predominance of the royal spiritual Self, the Immortal King within, personified by the Saviour and the hero of every saga—all this is allegorically portrayed by the Initiated authors of the inspired portions of the Scriptures of the world. The marriages in which many of these exploits culminate may be interpreted as symbolic references to the unification of the consciousness of the outer and the inner, the mortal and the immortal selves pf men. In mystical literature they are not inaptly referred to as “heavenly marriages”. Thus the narratives themselves describe the experiences—particularly the tests, ordeals, defeats and victories—of one person, who is man himself. Successful exploits describe interior achievements, while partial and complete failures, defeats and surrenders are allegories of temporary victories of the purely human over the divine in man—conquests of matter over Spirit. Thus the second key is that each of the dramatis personae represents a condition of consciousness and a quality of character.
STORIES DRAMATISE PHASES OF HUMAN EVOLUTION
The third key is that each story may be regarded as a graphic description of the experiences of the human Soul as it passes through the stages, and their intermediate phases, of its evolutionary journey to the Promised Land (cosmic consciousness)—the summit of human attainment. Inspired allegories are always distinguishable from mere novels and biographies by several characteristics, such as the intrusion of the supernatural and the inclusion in the story of angelic and divine beings, even of Deity itself. When these are found the existence of a hidden revelation may always be suspected. The reader possessed of arid applying the keys may then penetrate the veil of symbolism and find that hidden wisdom which it had concealed.
In the main the manifold experiences of the immortal Self of each man on its pathway towards perfection are, as stated above, narrated as the adventures of numbers of persons in any one story. The twelve labours of Hercules, each susceptible of association with one of the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, the voyage of the Argonauts, the experiences of the Israelites, and the lives of the Lord Shri Krishna, the Lord Buddha and the Lord Christ, amongst many others, are all descriptive in the symbolic manner of the journey of the Soul and the psychological, intellectual and spiritual unfoldments which occur on that pilgrimage.
In this third method of interpretation, each story may be studied from at least two points of view. The first of these refers to normal evolutionary progress and the accompanying mental and emotional states, whilst the second reveals the allegories as more especially descriptive of the experiences of those who enier in at the strait gate and pursue the narrow way.
In the Parable of the Sower the different conditions of the ground —as the Christ explained privately to His disciples—represent various evolutionary phases and states of spiritual receptiveness of the race and the individual, from complete unresponsiveness (wayside and rocky ground) to full perception and ratification (fertile ground). In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the foolish maidens may be regarded as those who are not as yet sufficiently evolved to be able to respond to impulses descending from their Higher Self (the bridegroom), and therefore not really to be blamed. The wise virgins, on the other hand, may be interpreted as personifying all those in whom the spiritual Self has attained to a considerable degree of evolutionary unfoldment. The outer, physical nature has then become sufficiently developed to be aware of this fact and to give expression in the conduct of daily life to higher idealism and the fruits of spiritual experiences. This state is, in its turn, followed by the progressive illumination of the mind-brain by the Ego (betrothal), leading to the fusion of the immortal and mortal natures (marriage).
The incidents of the marriage feast of Cana may thus be taken to refer to this interior union achieved by those who have awakened the power of the Christ Presence which is within every man, allegorically indicated by the physical presence of the Master. After this attainment the coarser desires of the emotional nature (water) are transmuted into wisdom and spiritual intuitiveness (wine). Marriages of heroes and heroines in Mythologies and Scriptures, as we have seeil, indicate that the all-essential blending of the mortal personality with the immortal Ego, and the further merging of the human individuality with the divine Self and life of the Universe as a whole, “the Mystic Identity” or-cosmic consciousness, have both been attained. The presence of the Christ in this story, as in all narratives in which He appears, including those which describe the “miracles”, implies that the phase of the evolutionary journey of the Soul has been entered at which spiritual wisdom, spiritual intuitiveness and a Christlike love and compassion are already well developed and active throughout the personal nature. The changing of water into wine at such marriages” is not a miracle, but rather a natural process which occurs when a steadfast aspirant finds and successfully treads the narrow way. The grape and the wine also symbolise knowledge, wisdom and comprehension of the spirit of things. As fermentation gives a certain “strength” to wine, so the action of the intellect upon accumulated esoteric knowledge turns it into pure wisdom, implicit insight and deeply penetrative intuitiveness. Thus the third key is that many Scriptural stories allegorically describe phases of man’s evolutionary journey and their accompanying mystical experiences.
The fourth key is that some physical objects, as also certain words, have each their own special symbolic meaning. In the cipher of the Bible such words are chiefly used to denote levels of human awareness. Those referring to earthly or physical objects are descriptive of states of consciousness and attributes of character pertaining to the waking state. Water and its associations refer Macrocosmically to universal Space and microcosmically to the emotions. With certain exceptions, air and fire refer to the intuition and the mind respectively. Fire, it should be added, also has reference to the manifested creative life-force of the Logos and that same force as the procreative power in man. This is referred to as the Serpent Fire or Kundalini and frequently represented by dragons and serpents. Thus the fourth key is that some physical objects and certain words have each their own symbolic meaning.
The Sacred Language of the Initiates of the Mystery Schools of old is indeed formed of hierograms and symbols rather than of words alone, their interpretation being ever constant, as constant also is the doctrine which this Language everywhere reveals. Many such words might thus be regarded as the locks into which the appropriate keys must be fitted. These keys consist of knowledge of the secret meanings given to the words by the Initiated writers of old.
The sacred wisdom consists of seven layers, ana this fact is allegorically referred to on many occasions. The fiery furnace, for example, had to be heated “seven times more than it was wont to be heated” before the three men—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—were joined by a fourth, who appeared “like the Son of God “, Similarly, the walls of Jericho were circumambulated or? the seventh day seven times before they fell down.
The idea thus emerges that in order to discover the Sacred Wisdom of the Christian and other Scriptures we must divest ourselves of the notion that they were conceived and written entirely as chronologically and historically authentic accounts of actual events. Rather are they to be read as blends of history, metaphor and revelations of occult and mystic lore. The Gospel narrative, for example, in its Initiatory interpretation describes the progress of an advanced and elevated Soul through the final ascending phases of evolution until the highest, the Ascension is attained. To be fully appreciated, the great drama must be transferred from purely material to psychological, intellectual and spiritual realms and levels of human experience. A commentary on the Gospel narrative from this point of view forms the subject-matter of Parts Five and Six of Volume I of this work.
The disciples are thus personifications of the noblest attributes of man (the second key). Though still imperfect, they are becoming increasingly spiritualised or brought into the presence of their Master, Who personates the Dweller in the Innermost, the God-Self of man, the Logos of the Soul. The disciples are not yet equal to the Christ, being younger in evolution and in consequence still under the delusion of selfseparateness. This is shown by their question as to who will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They are still tainted by grosser material attributes, hence the deeply symbolical washing of their feet by their Master. A traitor (Judas, in one of several possible interpretations personifying cupidity and treachery) still lurks in their midst. He must be self-revealed and self-slain before the great Ascension can occur. The Master admonishes, rebukes and warns them, indicating the spiritualising activity of the divine Presence within.
By the exercise of theurgic powers many of the recorded—and miscalled—miracles could have been performed by an Adept, or even by an Initiate of lesser degree. In possible mystical interpretations they also illustrate the processes of arousing into activity the faculty of responsiveness to spiritual vision (restoring sight) and to the still, small voice within (restoring hearing), the free exercise of the intellect liberated from rigid orthodoxy (curing those paralysed), and an awakening to full spiritual awareness and knowledge (raising from the dead). This approach will be used in those later Volumes of this work in which the life of Christ as related in the New Testament will be considered.
If this view be accepted, then the Gospel Story, and indeed all the inspired portions of the Bible, are addressed less to the reasoning mind than to the intuition, which can perceive in them references to the evolution of the spiritual Soul of both Universe and man; for, as we have seen, the processes of the development and active use of latent deific powers are portrayed in World Scriptures by means of symbols and dramatic allegories. This mystical view, it may be repeated, does not totally deny the presence of history. The kernel of tradition within the stories can still be a record of real events, however much the illumined authors may have lifted them out of time and space by the use of the Sacred Language.
INCONGRUITIES AS CLUES TO DEEPER MEANINGS
The student of the allegorical language is nearly always given a hint or clue—one, moreover, which at first sight might seem to be rather strange. This clue consists of an additional veil, cover or blind which tends to increase confusion and so to repel those who regard as purely literal those portions of Scripture in which potentially dangerous, because power-bestowing, knowledge is both revealed and concealed. Those who seek the hidden wisdom should guard carefully against this repulsion, whether it is aroused by statements which are incredible or impossible, or by stories which offend logic and one’s sense of justice, decency and morality. Unfortunately many people are turned away from the Scriptures, and even from religion itself, by the discovery of these characteristics. The study and exposition of the Sacred Language are for this reason I submit, of very great importance.
SOME INCREDIBILITIES AND THEIR POSSIBLE ELUCIDATION
An apparent digression is here made, therefore, briefly to examine certain incongruities in the Bible and to suggest solutions of the problems which they admittedly present. The statements concerning them given in Volume One of this work, Part One, Chapter Three, and in Part One, Chapter Two of this Volume, are here repeated in a somewhat revised form. They will also be further and more fully examined—together with many others—in their appropriate places in this and succeeding Volumes. These repetitions arise from a conviction of the great importance of the elucidation of the many incredible and incongruous accounts of supposed facts which occur in the Bible.
Certain admittedly difficult Bibilical passages are:
(a) Three days and nights of creation pass before the sun is created. Here universal creative epochs of activity and quiescence, rather than alterations of day and night on a single planet, are implied.
(b) Deity enjoins massacre and extermination.
In the Sacred Language enemies sometimes personify attributes which are hostile to the happiness and spiritual unfoldment of the individual or nation whose story is being told. If the enemies of the Israelites are so regarded, then Divine commands to massacre them lose their offensiveness, since extermination of undesirable characteristics is being enjoined. Whilst the normal history of an immigrant nation confronted by local adversaries has a rightful place in the national story, whenever the Lord God is introduced into a narrative and made responsible for events described, the authors may be presumed to be deliberately drawing attention to a mystical revelation. In such a reading the Lord God personifies the inner spiritual Self of the individual, the Monad, which is bringing its purifying and directive influences to bear upon the moral man.
(c) Noah collects pairs of every living creature from all parts of the Earth—arctic, temperate and tropical—and keeps them alive in the Ark for forty days.
According to a universal principle, also operative throughout physical Nature, the seeds of all living things are preserved during the quiescence (“Night” and “Flood”) which intervenes between one period of activity or creative epoch and its successor. The fruits of each human rebirth are, for example, preserved between successive lives, the Ark being the symbol of the conserving vehicle—cosmic or human.
(d) The Lord declares Himself to be “a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”
In the succession of reincarnations each human life is as the “father” of those which follow, they being referred to as its children. Read literally, the above quoted declaration makes of God a self-proclaimed monster of cruelty and injustice. Even a human father would not be guilty of such conduct. A more acceptable reading of this passage—depending upon the doctrine that the human Soul evolves to Christhood by means of successive lives on Earth—is that character developments are transferred from one life (the father) to its successors (the children), whilst the effects of actions may either be received in the same life in which such actions are performed or else precipitated in succeeding incarnations.
(e) Jericho is brought down by the sound of trumpets, horns and shouting.
The Logos Doctrine of the formation and the dissolution of Universes by the occult potencies of sound, and their use in chanting to break down limitations of consciousness (walls) and to purify its vehicles, may well be implied. Archaeologists have concluded that the destruction of the walls of Jericho was caused by an earthquake.
(f) Joshua makes the sun and moon stand still to prolong the day. By the practice of contemplation the divine Will in man, his source of spiritual power and light (symbolically the sun), is brought to its maximum power (the midst of the heavens), enabling the mortal man to overcome the enemies of the Soul (Gibeonites) and attain serenity (victory and peace).
(g) The defeat of Samson by cutting off his hair, and his destruction of the temple by leaning his weight upon two of its pillars.
Hair is the symbol of the effective relationship between the spiritual Soul and the mind-brain. When, symbolically, this contact is severed the power and the guidance of the inner Self are lost to the outer man, who becomes a slave to matter and the senses (Delilah). The spiritual relationship being restored, man attains to equilibrium between the pairs of opposites (the pillars), limitations (the walls of the temple) upon consciousness are dissipated and undesired qualities (the Philistines) are destroyed.
(h) Elijah goes to heaven in a chariot of fire.
The sublimation of the fiery, creative force in man enables him to ascend to spiritual states of consciousness (heaven).
(i) Jonah enters the belly of a great fish and remains unharmed for three days and three nights.
At Initiation the Candidate is withdrawn from his body (the ship), enters the Underworld (the sea), and is then elevated into full spiritual awareness or attains to Christ-consciousness (the fish). After the passage of sufficient time (generally three days and three nights), he returns to his body (is delivered to dry land).
(j) Tribute money is found inside a particular fish. All thte necessities (the tribute money) for spiritual, intellectual—and sometimes even physical—living are to be found in the divine aspects of human nature (the fish). Man is encouraged to discover (catch) and draw upon the Christ power within him.
(k) A fig tree is withered for not bearing fruit in the early spring. Unless a man gives freely of the fruits of his life, they will wither away and be lost. The text may be regarded as the enunciation of a law as well as the description of an act. A fuller interpretation of this incident appears in Volume One, Part One, Chapter Three of this work.
(l) Lazarus is raised after being dead for four days. Death symbolises the total absence of spiritual awareness. Miraculous restoration to life implies its attainment or recovery by virtue of the action of the interior divine Power and Presence (the Christ). The period of death refers to the time during which the body of the Candidate is unconscious (figurative death) while Initiation is being conferred. In the Ancient Mysteries death metaphorically described the condition of the uninitiated, whilst resurrection referred to passage through the Sacred Rite of Initiation.
(m) The flesh of Christ is described as “meat” and the blood of Christ as “drink”, their consumption being declared essential to life.
Our Lord insists that salvation depends upon partaking of His flesh and blood. The “flesh” of a divine Being is a symbol for spiritual truth and law. Eating such flesh implies intellectual absorption and full comprehension of eternal verities. Blood symbolises the ever-outpoured divine life by which the Universe and man are spiritually sustained. Drinking such blood refers to conscious coalescence with the one life of the Universe and realization of unity with its Source. When read literally the passage is not only repellant and offensive to reason, but also closes the mind to the profound mystical import of the Lord’s utterance. Furthermore, being confronted with its total incredibility if so read, the pronouncement might even prevent or delay an endeavour to attain by contemplation to the state of illumination metaphorically described. Hence the great importance of mystical interpretation of such difficult passages.
(n) The events of the night before the Crucifixion are too numerous for all of them to have occurred in the period allotted to them. Amongst these are:
The Last Supper.
The agony in the Garden.
The betrayal by Judas.
Appearance before Annas and then Gaiaphas, and the questionings.
Appearance before the Sanhedrin and the questioning.
Appearance before Pilate and the trial in the Hall of Judgment. (Courts to try malefactors did not normally sit in the middle of the night).
The visit to Herod, told of by St. Luke.
The return to Pilate.
Pilate’s speeches and the washing of his hands, recorded by St. Matthew only.
The scourging, mocking and arraying of Jesus in purple robes.
The long and painful journey to Golgotha, followed by the nailing to the Cross.
The difficulty disappears, however, if the whole experience is regarded as being descriptive of changes of consciousness as the state of human perfection is approached.
A significant reference to this interpretation is found in the Apocryphal Acts of John. This is the earliest of five books which were formed into a corpus by the Manichaeans and substituted by them for the canonical Acts. The book contains the following passages, which describe actions of the Lord immediately before and during the Crucifixion. These include both singing an antiphonal hymn and ceremonial dancing, after which the Lord said to John, who found himself on a mountain beside Him: “‘ John, unto the multitude below in Jerusalem I am being crucified and pierced with lances and reeds, and gall and vinegar is given me to drink. But unto thee I speak, and what I speak hear thou. I put it into thy mind to come up into this mountain, that thou mightest hear those things which it behoveth a disciple to learn from his teacher and a man from his God.’
“And having thus spoken, he showed me a cross of light fixed (set up) and about the cross a great multitude... And the Lord himself I beheld above the cross, not having any shape, but only a voice: and a voice not such as was familiar to us, but one sweet and kind and truly of God, saying unto me: ‘John, it is needful that one should hear these things from me, for I have need of one that will hear... But this is not the cross of wood which thou wilt see when thou goest down hence: neither am I he that is on the cross, whom now thou seest not, but only hearest his (or a) voice... for know thou that I am wholly with the Father, and the Father, with me. Nothing, therefore, of the things which they will say of me have I suffered: nay, that suffering also which I showed unto thee and the rest in the dance I will that it be called a mystery.’” et seq.
Whilst interpretations of these and a great many other incongruous statements in the Bible will be offered in their due place in this and later Volumes, fuller explanations of two or three of the more perplexing texts may, perhaps, usefully be added here.
With regard to (a), applying the fourth key—that some physical objects, as also certain words, have each their own special Macrocosmic meaning—the days and nights of creation refer to alternation of creative activity or “day” and quiescence Or “night These are referred to in the text of this work by their Sanskrit names of Manvantara  and Pralaya  respectively.
With reference to (f), Joshua personifies the Initiate who has brought his Monadic Will, symbolised by the sun, to its position of maximum power (the midst of the heavens or zenith). In consequence, he prevents the oncoming of night (in a microcosmic interpretation, mental darkness) and maintains his personal nature (the battlefield of Gibeon) in that condition of prolonged illumination (day) which ensures victory in the interior battle between Spirit (the Israelites) and matter (their enemies). This wonderful allegory has been more fully considered in Volume I, Part One, Chapter V of this work. Even from this brief interpretation, however, the element of impossibility may be regarded as both a hint or clue and an indication of a profound occult idea for which the reader is encouraged to search.
With regard to (m), quite clearly Our Lord was not exhorting mankind to consume human flesh and blood when He said: “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” The words” flesh”, “blood”, “eateth” and “drinketh” are not to be read in the usual sense. They are symbolical and metaphorical, and are so used in order to convey a hidden meaning.
What, then, could those four words—”flesh”, “blood”, “eateth” and “drinketh”—mean? The flesh of Christ may be interpreted as divine truths, spiritual laws, or that in which He as Logos is clothed, by which He is covered and through which He is made manifest. The time comes —and is hastened as “The way of holiness”  is entered upon—when the human intellect absorbs divine knowledge, becomes illumined and inspired by the interior discovery and revelation of spiritual truths. This experience in consciousness is symbolised as eating the flesh of Christ. Bread is also used to describe knowledge of divine laws, processes and purposes. Eating consecrated breads is an allegory for the reception, absorption and application to life of that knowledge, gnosis, sophia, esoteric wisdom. Bread is also a symbol of the cyclic regeneration of life after each return to the seed state.
The blood of Christ is the ever-outpoured divine life by which the Universe is sustained and without which it could not live. The life-force does, indeed, perform a function for the Universe and all it contains which closely resembles the office which human blood performs for the physical body. Normally man is unaware either of the omnipresence of this divine outpouring or of the fact that it is the spiritually sustaining power within him.
At a certain stage of the evolution of the human intellect this fact is intuitively perceived. Such realisation by the neophyte can be hastened by means of certain spiritual practices, by meditation and prayer, and by the aid of his Master, of the Hierophant and of other Officiants in the Sacred Initiatory Rites of the Temples of the Greater Mysteries. Ultimately full knowledge may be gained of the outpouring of the Christ-life into the Universe and man, and also of man’s identity with that life and its divine Source. This attainment is described symbolically as drinking Christ’s blood. Our Lord maybe assumed to have been referring to a state of consciousness of unity with the Cosmic Christ and His outpoured vital energy rather than to an act of physical nutrition.
Once this symbolical eating and drinking, this spiritual agape, has occurred, then the process can be initiated in others who in their turn, starving for truth, can be fed in vast multitudes. As the incident of feeding the five thousand  allegorically tells, in such ministration there is not, neither can there be, any loss. On the contrary there is more cf spiritual wisdom, knowledge and upwelling vitality afterwards than before—even unto “twelve baskets full”.
Thus, in the fourth interpretation, all objects, as also many words, have each their own special meaning. The symbols employed of the Sacred Language are associated with one or more of the four elements of earth, water, air or fire.
INTERPRETATION OF FIVE EPISODES FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS
The following five interpretations of portions of the Book of Genesis, abridged from the fuller expositions which follow later, are here offered in advance in the hope that they may serve as a preparation for those more detailed studies.
My statements concerning the laws and processes behind the formation and physical manifestation of Universes and the evolutionary procedures throughout Nature, physical and super-physical, have as their main sources the literature, both ancient and modern, of the Ageless Wisdom. The Neo-Platonists named the fundamental truths which underlie all creeds Theosophia, a title which has continued to be applied to the body of ideas which form the substratum and basis of all world religions and philosophies. Throughout this work the ancient knowledge, esoteric (Secret Doctrine) and exoteric (revealed teachings), is also referred to as occult science and occult philosophy. Theosophy must not, however, be regarded as a completed system to be accepted as such. On the contrary, as must be true of everything both organic and spiritual, it cannot have a fixed geometrical outline the whole of which can, as it were, be traced on paper by rule and compass. The concepts of the oneness of all life and of the existence of the Eternal Selves of Universe and man refuse to be objectively defined; for this would be setting a limit to both truth itself and man’s capacity to discover it.
Some fifty years’ study of Theosophy, comparative religion and philosophy, and attempted personal investigation of the basic truths presented under the veil of allegory in the Scriptures and Mythologies of earlier races, have inevitably influenced both the trend of my thinking and the gradual unfoldment of the ideas here presented for the consideration of readers of this work. Whilst writing it I have several times repeated —too often it may be thought by some—my main theme. My chief reason for doing this has been that the idea that the Holy Bible is not the inspired word of God from beginning to end may appear somewhat strange and new, even disturbing, to those who are unacquainted with the work of the Analogeticists and Symbologists. Other reasons were: to recall to the mind of the reader certain basic principles governing the allegorical method of writing and its interpretation; to meet the possibility that certain Chapters or parts in the book may be read without reference to the whole work; and to offer such assistance as would be helpful to those readers who may wish to apply these principles to the interpretation of the Scriptures and Mythologies of other ancient peoples.
As I now proceed to offer commentaries upon Biblical passages, briefly here and later more fully, I feel it necessary to warn my readers —particularly those hitherto unacquainted with occult philosophy, upon which I am drawing—that the subject is unavoidably somewhat abstruse. I have become personally convinced, however, that whatever mental effort is involved will be richly rewarding. Knowledge and comprehension of the general plan of human life on Earth are amongst the prizes to be won by those who are willing to delve into the mysterious secrets of Nature hidden beneath many of the apparently historical narratives of which the Bible partly consists.
EDEN, EVE AND THE “FALL” OF MAN
The first of the five passages selected for abridged interpretation is taken from the Second Chapter of the Book of Genesis, in which the Lord God is said to have taken one of the ribs of Adam while he slept and made from it a woman—Eve. Since the reasoning mind, familiar with modern anthropology, is unable to accept this statement literally, it must be either discarded out of hand or subjected to a close analysis. What, then, has occult philosophy to say concerning the first appearance on Earth of single-sexed man and woman?
The original human form typified by Adam, it is taught, was dual- sexed and unconsciously self-reproductive. The play of the creative force within the cells of Adam’s body did not directly affect either nerves or brain, no sex impulse being experienced. Self-fructified, he reproduced his kind much as plants or trees give of their seed-bearing flowers and fruit. As the evolutionary cycle progressed in which the physical body was developed and the dual-natured, masculine-feminine, human spiritual Soul entered into closer association with it, a change began to occur. The single-sexed man and woman of today gradually developed out of the original, dual-sexed, single organism. Adam alone in the Garden of Eden typified the first androgynous, sexually innocent humanity, whilst Adam and Eve exemplify the first completely separate men and women. The production of Eve from a rib of Adam whilst he slept may therefore be regarded as an allegorical description of this natural process, the Lord God here personifying the evolutionary impulse and the effects which, through long ages, it eventually produces. A reference may also be discerned to the teaching of occult philosophy that the race which is personified by Adam had bones, whilst that which preceded it was boneless.
The Second Chapter of Genesis thus tells of both the bodily development of primitive man and also the psychological condition arising from it. As stated above, androgynous, he was unconscious of sex; instinctually reproductive, he was innocent of passion. This condition of human passionlessness, symbolised by Adam in the Garden of Eden, is itself descriptive of the state of the embodied soul before the awakening and activity of consciously exercised procreative power. Eden thus emblematically represents both the period from birth to puberty, in the life of each human being, and also the childhood of the human race.
THE ANGEL WITH THE FLAMING SWORD
The expulsion from Eden may, in its turn, be interpreted as an allegory describing the growing up process or the passage of the child from the state of innocence, through adolescence into adult life. The procedure being perfectly natural, however, involves no sin of either soul or body, whether for the individual or the race. Applied to consciousness, the story describes the pre-creative (Eden) and the pro-creative (“Fall” and expulsion) stages of human development. In terms of bodily growth the account refers to the change which occurred in the first human bodies during evolution from the androgynous to the single-sexed state, with the consequent experience of sex desire and the present method of procreation. The Eden state is then outgrown, childhood having been naturally followed by adolescence. Allegorically, Adam and Eve are “expelled” from Eden, not directly by the decree of a Divine Emanator (Gen. III: 23, 24), but by the action of the emitted, irresistible, propellant power of which evolution (growing up) is the result.
In the story of the making of Eve by the Creator out of a rib taken from Adam, his deep sleep refers to the condition of both the nascent mentality and the unawakened, inactive procreative power. Adam alone thus aptly represents the human race at the first period of the encasement of the Monad  in an androgynous, mentally torpid, human form. Newly enclosed in physical matter, first man was of the earth, earthy. His task was to accustom himself to imprisonment within relatively inert physical substance and gradually to overcome its resistance.
The earliest human bodies were gigantic and somewhat insensitive, with the minimum of nervous organisation and activity. They moved sluggishly and clumsily through tropical vegetation, impelled largely by the desire for food and the instinct for self-preservation. Apparently this was during the Miocene Period. Reproduction was unconscious and passed through both exudatory or “sweat-born” and oviporous stages. This mentally inactive condition is, as stated, typified by Adam in a deep sleep in the Garden of Eden. The creative life-force was present and active within him, however, even though he knew it not.
Very gradually changes, both physical and psychological, occurred. Physically, one sex attribute began to predominate over the other. Psychologically, awareness of opposite polarity was experienced, depending upon whether the positive or the negative current in the life-force was predominant. These two processes culminated at the end of the androgynous era in the establishment upon this planet of separate male and female forms. Since this first human pair, Adam and Eve, evolved out of a single racial progenitor—Adam by himself, whose body contained the attributes of both sexes—the description of the formation of Eve from the rib of Adam is allegorically appropriate.
Such, in outline, are some teachings of occult philosophy as applied to the story of the Garden of Eden.
THE DIVINE LIFE AS THE PRODIGAL SON
THE MACROCOSMIC CYCLE
The Parable of the Prodigal Son describes the process of the forthgoing of the outpoured, conscious life of the Logos, which bears with it into the field of evolution the Rays or radiations of the Monads of all beings (the “journey into a far country”).
At the beginning of each new manifestation these Monads are at varying stages of development and awareness, according to the degree of unfoldment reached in preceding cycles. At the farthest point of the path of forthgoing, represented in the Earth Scheme of our Solar System by the mineral kingdom of the physical plane, the power, the life and the consciousness of the Monad are most deeply encased in matter. In the parable this phase is portrayed by the deepest degradation of the prodigal son, who fain would have eaten “the husks that the swine did eat”.
The parable also describes in allegory the pathway of return, or evolution, at the close of which all the seed powers of the Monads have become developed to the highest degree possible in any particular cycle. The bliss and the enrichment of the spiritual Soul are symbolised by the welcome, the gifts and the feasting provided for the prodigal son on his return. This major cycle of involution and evolution is repeated in innumerable component sub-cycles of gradually diminishing degree and dimension. Man as Ego repeats it, for example, in each cycle of birth and death. Throughout this book the period of activity is called Manvantara, and the quiescence which always follows is termed Pralaya.
SATAN AND THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL 
DEMON DEUS INVERSUS EST
Satan, by whose machinations Eve, and then Adam, partook of the fruits of the tree in the midst of the garden, in one interpretation may permissibly be regarded as a personification of an Order of the Elohim, the so-called Inverse Sephiras  of Kabbalism. He also represents differentiated matter; the separative tendencies of the human mind; the drive towards self- indulgences resulting from the activity of the inherent creative life-force; and, in addition, the influences of all of these upon the human personality.
The allegory may be further interpreted as descriptive of natural procedures in Gosmogenesis. At the dawn of a Manvantara, for example, when hitherto unified Spirit-matter becomes oppositely polarised and these two interact to produce a Universe of finite forms, awareness by Spirit of juxtaposition with matter awakens into activity the creative fire hitherto asleep within them both. In this awakening matter leads, and so may be said to “lure” Spirit into material self-expression. Allegorically Eve, symbol of universal substance, answers to the play of the creative life-force (the Devil) within her and tempts and seduces Adam (Spirit).
THE PATHWAY OF FORTHGOING AND RETURN
A not dissimilar process occurs when man, the microcosm, emerges from the divine Consciousness and embarks upon the involutionary arc of his cyclic pilgrimage to “perfection”. The terms “involutionary” and “evolutionary” used in this Chapter and elsewhere in this book apply to the cyclic movement of Spirit-life after its emanation from the Absolute. This movement may be briefly described as a “descent” (“Fall”) or forthgoing into deeper and deeper manifestation in matter— involution—which is followed by an “ascent” (Redemption) or return—evolution—to the purely spiritual state from which the cyclic journey begins. The pure spiritual Essence of the human Monad must, in order to develop innate powers, be “lured” or tempted into intimate association with the matter of the worlds of mind, emotion and physical substance. This “descent” or “Fall” is, as stated above, assisted by the Order of Intelligences referred to in esoteric Kabbalism as the Inverse Sephiras (Satan). This Order includes Intelligences who fashioned the mental, emotional and etheric-physical bodies of the first three races of men to inhabit this Earth in the present world period. These Pitris, as they are called in Hinduism, also fulfilled the office previously described of “including” or “luring” the Monad-Egos of those races into the bodies which had been constructed for them. Since this materialising function associated with the involutionary phase appears evil from the point of view of the following evolutionary arc which tends towards spiritualisation, these Intelligences are sometimes also referred to as the Satanic Hierarchies.
In Chapter Five of Part Three of my book, The Kingdom of the Gods, and more particularly in the descriptive material associated with Plates 29 and 30, I state that when investigating the descent of human Egos into birth I received evidence that a corresponding function is also performed for all human beings by members of the Angelic Hosts. During the pre-natal or downward arc of the cycle of each successive birth, the reincarnating Ego projects a ray of its power, life and consciousness from the realm of Spiritual Intelligence in which it abides. Throughout the gestatory period members of one Order of the Angelic Hosts assist in building the mental, emotional, etheric and physical bodies, in assuring their mutual adjustment, and in inducting into them the reincarnating spiritual Self. A partial record of the research referred to above is to be found in my book The Miracle of Birth.
Thus the work of an Order of the so-called Satanic Hierarchy is to install the human Monad-Ego in vehicles of thought, emotion, and physical awareness and activity. The process of descent thereafter culminates in incarnation in physical, dust-formed  bodies through which the creative impulse can achieve self-conscious expression. The universal, creative life-force, the “Fire of Creation”, then finds individual manifestation as human love, desire and procreative activity. In addition, the Hierarchy of Intelligences associated with the process of reincarnation and, as we have seen, man’s self-conscious sex-life, are personified by Satan. The strange, scriptural figure of the Devil is thus seen as a composite symbol of matter and its resistance to Spirit, of an Order of Intelligences, of natural processes and impulses, and of certain other forces and experiences acting upon and within mankind. Since the separative and prideful tendencies of the human mind and their deliberate expression, the surges of strong desire and the de-spiritualising effects of sexual excesses are all temporarily harmful to man, Satan has come to be regarded as an evil Being, an enemy of mankind. He has also been described as “the shadow of himself which a man sees when he turns his back to the light.”
This profound occult knowledge of the completely impersonal Inverse Sephiras, their functions in Nature and the methods whereby their co-operation may be used for evil purposes, is dangerous. Hence, doubtless, its heavy enveiling in World Scriptures and allegories.
The Irish poet, James Stephens, intuited and expressed this profoundly occult teaching in his poem, The Fullness of Time: 
“On a rusty iron throne,
Past furthest star of space,
I saw Satan sit alone,
Old and haggard was his face;
For his work was done, and he
Rested in eternity.
“And to him from out the sun
Came his father and his friend,
Saying,—Now the work is done
Enmity is at an end—
And He guided Satan to
Paradises that He knew.
“Gabriel, without a frown;
Uriel, without a spear;
Raphael, came singing down,
Welcoming their ancient peer;
And they seated him beside,
One who had been crucified.”
THE SERPENT IN EDEN
The symbol of the serpent as tempter of Eve is also appropriate, since the characteristic superphysical mode of manifestation (tattva) and manner of expression of the creative power in both Nature and man—the Serpent Fire or kundalini—is wave-like or serpentine. The supposed temptation of Eve by the serpent in Eden is an allegory of the allurement of the Spirit of man from primal innocence to self-conscious sex experience. The undulatory movement by which the creative life-force naturally manifests is aptly indicated by its personification as a serpent. Man’s physical expression of this power in the natural procreative act constitutes the wrongly named “Fall” of Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden, as a result of which the whole human race is dogmatically—erroneously according to occult philosophy—affirmed by Christian orthodoxy to have been born in “original sin”. Man’s generative power can indeed cause him to become either Godlike or a degraded demon of lust. When transmuted to spiritual and intellectual productivity it makes of man an inspired genius, and later an occult Sage endowed with superhuman capacities. When, however, it is expressed in excessive self-indulgence it can deeply degrade him; for undue sexual expression bedulls, takes the keen edge from, the mind-brain.
“THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL”
In one possible and somewhat limited interpretation the tree itself in-the midst of the Garden of Eden typifies the active life-force, when in a state of balance or equipoise, in both Nature and man. As observed, the serpent associated therewith represents the twin currents of kundalini, “positive and negative, with, the tree trunk as the neutral third. The fruit of the tree represents the faculties and powers accruing from the activity of the life-force within both Universe and man, especially when sublimated by the latter into mental and spiritual creativeness. Such, indeed, is the harvest of the great Monadic pilgrimage of forthgoing and return.
Since the subject-matter of this Chapter is admittedly somewhat abstruse, a brief recapitulation now follows. Adam by himself personifies early mankind as a race of androgyne beings. Adam and Eve as distinct entities represent the later stage of human evolution in which the Monad- Egos of men incarnated in single-sexed physical bodies. They are emblematic of the human race after separation into men and women endowed with male and female organisms and other characteristics. Before Adam and Eve are thus separated complete innocence (parthenogenesis) or unconscious reproduction exists, whilst afterwards conscious sex activity occurs. Knowledge of this latter and experience of its expression in procreation are thus gradually gained. Thereafter childlike innocence is naturally forfeited. Allegorically, Adam and Eve are expelled from Eden, Paradise is lost.
“YE SHALL BE AS GODS” 
Evolution and experience—to continue the recapitulation—bring to fruition in man knowledge of the Promethean fire, ultimately making of him in his turn a Deity, a divine Emanator of Universes, The serpent therefore temptingly, albeit truthfully, said: “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods...” The price to be paid for the development of this deific power to “create” is heavy indeed. The Soul of man is encased in matter wherein, Prometheus-like, he becomes a prey to over-emphasized sex and sexual indulgence. Self-degraded as a result, his condition is scripturally described as being cursed by God. Nevertheless divine Intelligence--in the form of Cherubim—ever watches over the human Monad, the Ego and the interior creative life-force, and guards man throughout the long pilgrimage through matter until, by virtue of the presence and activity of the Divinity within, self-redemption, salvation or Adeptship is attained. Prometheus is unbound and Paradise regained.
NOAH AND THE ARK
A MACROCOSMIC INTERPRETATION
In Chapter Six of the Book of Genesis, the blending of the cosmogonical with the historical becomes marked. The account of the Flood is allegorically merged with the engulfing of Universes and their several components within the “waters of space” at the end of Manvantaras, major and minor. As a permutation of Jehovah, Noah represents the masculine creative potency. His presence within the Ark—the feminine aspect—represents a union from which arises the emanation of all created things at the appointed time.
Noah is also a personification of one of the ten Sephiroth, together with its associated Hierarchy of Archangelic and Angelic Hosts. As the so-called Satanic Hierarchy (see second abridged interpretation) is associated with the outward pouring of Spirit into matter, and the induction of conscious beings into forms, so the Order of the Elohim represented by Noah is concerned with their return to the Source during the closing phases of a period of manifestation. The Head of this Hierarchy, Noah- like, has the task of gathering up and at the end sublimating into the highest spiritual essence all the fruits of the major Manvantara. The essential cosmic power, life and consciousness, as well as the Monads—symbolised by the presence of pairs of all created things and by the family of Noah— are preserved within the aura (the Ark) of this Representative of the appropriate Order of the Elohim (Noah).
This process of the preservation throughout Pralaya of the seeds of living things within the aura of an exalted Member of the Inner Government of the Solar System is repeated for all its components, as also for a Solar System as a whole. The, Ancient Wisdom teaches that in the case of Planetary Chains, Rounds, and single Globes, the preserving Official, known as a Seed Manu, may be a member of the human kingdom of Nature who has attained to lofty superhuman stature.
A MICROCOSMIC INTERPRETATION
All Monads, with their potentialities and developed powers and faculties, are also thus preserved in a sublimated state during Pralaya. In this period forms disintegrate and their substance, losing its individualised vibratory frequencies, returns to the quiescent, pre-creative state symbolised by the waters of the Flood. Pralaya ended, either the Head of the Elohistic Hierarchy or the Seed Mam delivers his charges over to the corresponding Official of the new cycle. Then the great pilgrimage of involution and evolution (from unity through diversity and back to unity again) is repeated on a higher round of the spiral—the Ark comes to rest on Mt. Ararat—and so on and on throughout all eternity; for the Ageless Wisdom teaches that this cycle of evolutionary progression has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end.
In one sense the covenant with the Lord and the appearance of the; rainbow symbolise the function of the Elohim in bridging the two epochs or cycles of manifestation. The return from simplicity to multiplicity, from the white light to the spectrum, from the one to the many, is also implied.
In the Planetary interpretation Noah represents the Manu of a single Root Race, an Official in the Hierarchy of the Adepts, who is responsible for the evolution of a complete Race with its seven sub-races. At a certain phase in its evolution this Official receives from his predecessor of the preceding Race such of its more advanced and successful members as are to be employed as future physical progenitors.
The Flood was a racial, historical fact—indeed a series of facts according to occult philosophy. In four great Floods the continent of Atlantis and millions of the bodies of its inhabitants, human and subhuman, were drowned. Symbolism apart, the one recorded in Genesis, taken as historical, was the fourth and culminating cataclysm. The Souls, psychical and spiritual, of the people thus destroyed were thereby saved from the deeper degradation into which, as sorcerers and black magicians, they might otherwise have sunk. Very large numbers of the Atlanteans did, however, fall into the error of sorcery and black magic of a deeply degrading character. This, also according to occult philosophy, is the sin referred to as provoking the wrath of the Lord. In the strictly historical sense the Biblical statement that a Flood occurred is correct except for the fact that it was a purely local inundation, not one involving the whole of the planet. Completely erroneous, however, is the implication that the Solar Logos, the Elohim, or any of the Members of the Occult Hierarchy of Adepts on Earth are capable of wrath. Only danger to the evolving Souls of men would have necessitated any occult intervention which may have occurred. The great war between the law-abiding Atlantean Emperor and his forces, and the vast armies of the sorcerers, is indirectly and partly referred to in the allegory of the War in Heaven.
In terms of the seven bodies  of man and the successive reincarnations of the human Ego, the Ark may be interpreted as the Auric Envelope, and more especially the Soul’s vesture of light which is called the Causal Body. This vehicle both contains, and preserves between reincarnations, the fruits harvested from each life-cycle. It is also an Ark in that it serves as a vehicle for the threefold spiritual Self, the divine Will, Wisdom and Intelligence which constitute the essential, unfolding spiritual Soul of man.
In this interpretation the inhabitants, human and sub-human, of Noah’s Ark typify all these contents, the animals representing man’s animal-like propensities. The three storeys refer to the three more spiritual levels of consciousness, those of will, wisdom and intelligence, at which the Immortal Self of man exists. In the succession of lives on Earth, at the death of the body, Egoic consciousness is withdrawn from the physical world and through the emotional and mental states  into its own realm.
To sum up: the arks and ships of the allegorical language employed by the Initiates of the Mystery Schools of early civilisations generally refer to containing vehicles of consciousness of whatever dimensions and at whatever level. The symbol is, however, susceptible of numerous other interpretations. In general it is any vehicle of consciousness, whether of Cosmos, Solar System, sun, planet, race or individual. Additional meanings include the substance and the ensouling and directing Intelligences of Cosmic and Solar Systems; the spiritual or Causal Body of man, the Augoeides; the animal and human wombs; the enclosing membrane of a cell and the “wall” of an atom. The universal principle of the conservation of attributes and developed qualities is exemplified by the symbol of the ark or boat.
FLOOD MYTHS IN WORLD SCRIPTURES
Modern archaeology apart, the universality of the Flood legend supports the belief that a major—if not total—inundation did, in fact, occur. Examples are found in the literature of other ancient peoples. Some of these, here recounted, are repeated at the appropriate place in the main text. The Chaldeo-Babylonian tablets state, for instance, that:
“Six days and nights the wind, deluge and storms over-whelmed. On the seventh day in the course (sic) was calmed the storm and all the deluge which had destroyed like an earthquake quieted. The sea he caused to dry, and the wind and deluge ended.”...
In the Hindu version, found in the Mahdbharata, the Purdnas and the Brahmanas, Manu Vaivasvata, the Hindu Noah, saves a little fish which wants to be an Avatar (descent or manifestation on Earth) of Vishnu, the Second Aspect of the Trimurti. The fish warns the Manu that the world and all its inhabitants are about to be submerged, and orders him to construct a vessel in which he shall embark with all his family. When the ship is ready and Vaivasvata has taken aboard his family, the seeds of plants and pairs of all animals, the rain begins to fall. The fish, now gigantic and armed with a horn, places itself at the head of the “Ark” which it guides through the raging elements. When the storm subsided, the “Ark” settled on a peak of the Himalayas.
In Greek mythology, when Zeus had resolved to destroy the whole degenerate race of men Deucalion, the Greek Noah, and his wife Pyrrha, on account of their piety were the only mortals to be saved. Deucalion built a ship in which he and his wife floated to safety during the nine days of the Flood, which destroyed all the other inhabitants of Hellas. At last the ship rested on Mount Parnassus in Phocis. Thereafter, by very strange magical actions, the human race was restored.
The ancient manuscript known as the Troana MS., which appears to have been written about 2,500 years ago by the Mayans of Yucatan and has been translated by Le Plongeon, gives the following description of the submergence of an Atlantic continent, presumably the Poseidonis referred to by Plato:
“In the year of 6 Kan, on the 11th Muluc in the Zac, there occurred terrible earthquakes, which continued without interruption until the 13th Chuen. The country of the hills was covered by mud, the land of Mu was sacrificed; being twice upheaved it suddenly disappeared during the night, the basin being continually shaken by volcanic forces. Being confined, these caused the land to sink and to rise several times and in various places. At last the surface gave way and ten countries were torn asunder and scattered. Unable to stand the force of the convulsions, they sank with 64,000,000 of their inhabitants, 8,060 years before the writing of this book.”
Another ancient Mayan MS. known as the Book of Chilam Balam, later found by A. M. Bolic, states:…and then in one watery blow, came the waters... the sky fell down and the dry land sank.”
Thus both the Biblical account and the occult teaching concerning the Flood find some scientific and literary support. One difference between the Biblical and all other accounts is, as we have seen, that the former suggests that the Flood was universal, whilst the others describe it as being distinctly local. The misstatement in the Bible might be regarded by allegoricists as an indication that the story is so written as to possess a symbolical, and so cosmic, significance.
THE TOWER OF BABEL
A literal reading of the story of the Tower of Babel suggests that the Lord God deliberately cast mankind into confusion by breaking up the unity of the early races of men and destroying their common language. Since a great many of the subsequent sorrows of mankind arose from this supposed action on the part of the Supreme Deity, such a reading becomes unthinkable. The student of the Sacred Language, however, sees in Scriptural incongruities a possible indication of the presence of a hidden wisdom for which he is encouraged to seek.
In what way, then, may the story be interpreted? If regarded as an allegory descriptive of normal processes of evolution, then the term ‘the Lord” should be understood as referring to the creative and evolutionary impulses in Nature and in man, and to the laws under which they are objectively expressed. Babel thus marks an epoch in the history of man both as an individual and a race, whilst the allegory is also susceptible of a corresponding cosmic interpretation.
Primitive pre-Babel man was tribal and relatively mindless. Instinct guided his every action and that instinct was of the herd. The development of mind commenced with post-Babel man and when mentality entered in, replacing instinct with reason, individuality was born. Primeval unity then began to be destroyed. The Tower of Babel may thus be seen as a symbol of man’s evolutionary ascent from the first purely physical race, through instinctual and emotional states, into a capacity for personal choice based upon individual thought. Natural evolutionary progression, and not the Lord of the Universe, brought about the disunified condition of mankind, which unfortunately to this day continues to be a basic cause of human suffering. Signs are not wanting—the growing acceptance of the idea of the brotherhood of man, as exemplified by the founding of the League of Nations, the International Red Cross, and later the United Nations with its many auxiliary international Agencies that a further development is now occurring in which the mind of man is, however slowly, becoming intuitively illumined by a conscious recognition of the unity of all life, and so of all men.
THE SYMBOL OF THE TOWER
The building was unfinished because human evolution on this planet was then incomplete, and still is so. The emblematic Tower will be completed, however, by Seventh Race man, who allegorically will erect its pinnacle. Based upon the power of pure reason and rising through the faculty of controlled intuition to empowerment by the spiritual will, this symbolic completion of the metaphorical structure represents the highest development possible to humanity on this Earth in this World Period; for the builders said:...let us build us a city and-a tower, whose top may reach into heaven... The Tower of Babel is thus both an emblem and a chart of the evolution of man’s consciousness. Its foundations are rooted deep in the earth and represent the Adam-Race, the first truly physical and androgynous humanity which existed on Earth and evolved physically and emotionally whilst still in a mental torpor (Adam’s sleep).
The Tower symbol is susceptible of further and more detailed interpretation. The clay of which the bricks were made, for example, represents primordial substance. The sun which dried, hardened and baked them symbolises the supreme creative, spiritual Power presiding over the journey of forthgoing, during which archetypal ideas are projected into matter. The slime which was used for mortar represents mingled emotional and mental self-awareness in the physical body of man. The liquid state symbolises macrocosmically the indwelling divine life, the cohesive principle, throughout Nature and microcosmically human emotion. Slowly the great edifice arose as sub-race followed sub-race, the Third and Fourth Root Races carrying these developments further and further, or higher and higher towards heaven (spiritual awareness). Since this progress occurred in man and was the result of his experience and effort, the authors of the allegory correctly affirm that the Tower of Babel was built by man.
The story, however, goes no further than the stage at which the development of the analytical reasoning faculty began. This was achieved by the masses about the middle of the Fourth Root Race, and when it happened the seeds of disunity, divided activity and competition came into the world. They germinated quickly, developed and began to produce their first fruit—the acute sense of separated individuality. The unifying, cohesive influence of the herd instinct, limited as it was to families, tribes and nations, then began to lose its hold.
Great expansion of consciousness also occurred and this led individuals and groups to explore the Earth and gradually to move from the great racial centres of civilisation to outlying districts, and thence by land and sea to other continents. Through vast ages, as the new power of intellection developed, so differences of language and custom expressed the diversity which accompanied that development. The change from unity to self-separateness was thus inevitable, and not in the least—as a literal reading would indicate—the result of harmful action by a Deity hostile to mankind. It was quite natural and, in fact, completely necessary to human evolution. Despite its grievous results, destined to endure far on into the Fifth Root Race—the present time—it is an essential phase of the process of the unfoldment of life and consciousness. Indeed, Nature may be said to have demanded it as the price of the triumph to follow and the crown to be won. That triumph is a conscious, self-chosen return to unification, and that crown is the vision and realisation of the unity of the life within all the diverse forms of Nature. Since the interval of disunity, with its adverse results, was the unavoidable concomitant of evolution, a dead-letter reading quite erroneously attributes to “the LORD” the “confounding” of the original common tongue. The story of the Tower of Babel may thus be regarded as an allegorical account of the evolution of human consciousness out of unified tribal instinct into, and later through, the inevitable diversity produced by the development of the mind, with its attributes of individualism and egoism.
This knowledge—for reasons doubtless considered by the ancient Sages to be adequate—was in those days preserved among the many secrets to be revealed only to Initiates of the Greater Mysteries; hence, I suggest, its presentation in allegorical form.
THE HERESY OF SEPARATENESS
To sum up: since the accentuated sense of self-separateness, manifesting as extreme nationalism and individualism, is the primary cause of all unwarranted injury by man to man, any being who produces this state of mind must be held responsible for all the subsequent effects. Yet the literal reading of the Biblical text, and especially of verses six, seven, eight and nine of the Seventh Chapter of Genesis, indicates that the Supreme Deity deliberately and callously made Itself responsible for the major self-produced sufferings of mankind. Indeed,, if this reasoning be applied, then all evil, including individual and organised crime and the waging of innumerable wars, arose and still arises from two actions attributed on Biblical authority to the Lord God. Each of these—confounding human language and scattering mankind abroad—brought about the division of humanity into separate nation’s speaking different languages. Consequently the then existing unity of the human race was broken.
Such conduct, deliberately conceived and put into effect by the Deity during the early phases of post-diluvian human life on Earth, is quite unthinkable; for its attribution to the divine Parent of humanity affronts every ideal concept of such an exalted Being, and is therefore unacceptable to the thoughtful and reverent mind. The sense of outrage is deepened by the statement in the first verse of Chapter Eleven of Genesis, which says that “... the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” Verse six also reports the Lord as saying: “... Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language…whilst verses seven and eight record Him as giving the order: “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth...
The affront disappears, however, if the story be read not literally, but as an allegorical revelation of knowledge which at that time was reserved to the Initiates of the Mystery Schools—namely the methods and phases of human evolution and their effects upon human consciousness and life. The study and acceptance of the Bible less as literal history and far more as a revelation of fundamental truths by means of allegories, thus receives support from the story of the Tower of Babel.
THE ONE BECOMES THE MANY
Macrocosmically the incarnation of the one life into many forms, the expression of the one creative Idea through its innumerable objective manifestations in Nature, and the material appearance of the Primordial Archetype in myriads of different types, on the physical plane—all these are, I suggest, allegorised by the supposed action of the creative Deity in scattering humanity abroad upon the face of the Earth. Such disruption of unity is bound to occur as soon as the pathway of forthgoing, or involution, is entered upon. Although the text affirms this to be a deliberate action by the Lord God, according to occult philosophy it is but the inevitable result of the emanation of the finite from the Infinite. No-one, therefore, is in the least blameworthy, since unavoidable natural procedures are alone being described. Whoever the authors may have been—inspired Kabbalists, according to the Zohar—one might be forgiven for regretting their concealment of these great fundamental verities under a veil which presents the Deity in such an undesirable light. They were, however, but following a universal custom, for in those days these teachings concerning racial involution and evolution according to an Archetype were restricted to members of the Mystery Schools, and under vows of secrecy only mentioned to the profane in allegorical form.
The actual procedure of building the Tower symbolises entry on the pathway of return from matter to Spirit, from Earth to Heaven, from diversity back to unity—or evolution. The unfinished state indicates a continuing process as yet incomplete, whilst the limitless regions of the sky above suggest an infinity of potential attainment. The Tower may thus be regarded as entirely symbolic, its undermeaning being one of the many jewels of wisdom scattered in prodigal abundance throughout the pages of the Bible.
A reference may also be perceived to the Sacred Language of the Mystery Schools, which was and still is a unity, one tongue, the same for all peoples throughout all time. The Ageless Wisdom was once known universally, but was gradually denied to subsequent generations who, because of the development of individualism, became temporarily unworthy to receive it directly. Thus both the primeval Wisdom Religion and its hierogrammatic Scriptures were forgotten by the many, as humanity gradually became restricted to the several tongues of the different nations of the world.
REBEKAH AT THE WELL
The story of the discovery of Rebekah as the future wife of Isaac, in fulfilment of the prophetic vision of his father Abraham, takes its place with the great mystical romances of all time. There are, however, elements in the story which may indicate a deeper intention on the part of the authors of the Pentateuch. They themselves, for example, open this great work with an account of Gosmogenesis, and follow it with a highly allegorical description of the creation of man (Adam) and later, from his side, woman (Eve). Since a literal reading of this passage of Scripture cannot reasonably be accepted, the student of the Language of Allegory and Symbol may prefer to regard accounts of such generative procedures as also being capable of interpretation in the larger sense as allegories of macrocosmic and microcosmic “creations”.
This approach would seem to be encouraged by the inclusion of many symbols of formative, cyclic, numerically governed procedures in Nature. Readers interested in this view may find acceptable the proffered interpretations of parts of this symbology in the commentaries on the later days and years of Abraham’s life which are included in Part Six of this Volume. Others may see in them a tendency to add unnecessary complexity to a simple and straightforward history of a mighty people. Those holding to this latter view may, if they desire—despite numerous affronts to both reason and morality—read the great stories of the Abrahamic cycle and its successors as Hebrew history alone. If, however, these portions of Scripture are approached as revelations of profound wisdom under a veil of allegory and symbol, then the three interpretations used throughout this work—macrocosmic, microcosmic and Initiatory—may usefully be applied, particularly as the above-mentioned affronts then disappear. In support of this approach, one may note the Presence of the Supreme Deity as Abraham’s Counsellor, a completely fulfilled prophetic vision of that which was about to occur a great distance away, and an exceedingly strange form of oath taken by a servant. All these lift the narrative out of the purely historical and bestow upon it a distinctly mystical character.
Abraham sought a wife for his son Isaac, not from the land of Canaan but from the original country from which he had come. He was granted a vision in which he occultly saw Isaac’s future wife, Rebekah, and the manner in which she would respond to an invitation delivered by his servant. This vision proved to be accurate in every respect. The servant journeyed to Nahor as instructed, met Rebekah at the well there, and on his request received from her water and an offer of hospitality. She and her family agreed to the union. She journeyed with the servant, met Isaac at Lahai-roi, and they were married.
This story, as we have seen, is susceptible of interpretation from two main points of view: the macrocosmic or universal, and the microcosmic or human, which includes the Initiatory, descriptive of experiences on the Way of Holiness.
In the Pentateuch, and indeed throughout World Scriptures, characters in the stories are frequently used to personify both divine Beings and creative procedures. Abraham, for example, represents universal Spirit, whilst water is emblematical of universal Space. A well containing water typifies a circumscribed area of differentiated matter from within which a Universe is to be emanated. Rebekah also personifies substance both before and after impregnation by creative Spirit, she being a virgin before she married Isaac. Isaac becomes the Lord of the new Universe, having evolved out of universal Spirit (Abraham, his father, who also stands for the Logos of the preceding Universe).
These principles of cosmic Creation, impersonal and abstract as they are, would be completely incomprehensible to the uninstructed. Since, however, knowledge concerning Cosmogenesis is of importance to the race, the formative processes are skilfully described as actions and experiences of Deities and human personalities, together with their mutual relationships. Pre-cosmic and cosmic procedures are thus brought to the attention of mankind by means of symbolical dramas, in which the characters are designed to personify Intelligences and forces involved in the emanation, fashioning and evolution of Universes and their components.
The events of these Scriptural and mythological narratives are not always entirely natural. Divine interventions, the exercise of miraculous powers and the occurrence of occult happenings are introduced into them. These prompt the reader who is seeking both for solutions of the problems arising from a literal reading, and for knowledge possibly concealed beneath otherwise unacceptable statements, to look below the surface in search of hidden truths. In the story of Rebekah, for example, Abraham is spiritually guided. He exercises remarkable clairvoyant vision, which reveals to him the existence of particular people dwelling at a distance. The power of pre-cognition, included within the faculty of clairvoyance, enables Abraham to foretell the future with remarkable exactness, for all took place precisely as he had prophesied.
A MACROCOSMIC INTERPRETATION
Cosmogenesis begins with an event in time: “... the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”  Otherwise stated, the negative substance of undifferentiated, unparticled Space is first fructified and atomised from within itself by the action of a positive, creative power. Feminine and masculine potencies interact creatively and new Universes appear or, more correctly, preceding Universes reappear. Solar Systems within the vast sea of Space then begin to be formed, Isaac in the second part of the allegory personifying a presiding Deity, a Solar Logos. Thereafter the processes of the emanation of worlds and their inhabitants (offspring) and of involution and evolution follow according to eternal Law.
The narrative is clearly descriptive of two distinct procedures in Nature. In the first of these Abraham represents the masculine, generative power, or Spirit, whilst the element of water stands for the feminine, creative potency, or matter. These two are brought into mutual association by means of a verbal message or the utterance of the “Word”. Rebekah responds and the potentialities of creative procedure in time have come into existence. Thereafter, when marriage has occurred, the succeeding phase is described, in which the part of the male creator is taken by Isaac and the female by Rebekah. These two revelations by allegory need to be kept distinct, one being cosmic and revealing general principles, the other being local and referring to the succession of Solar Systems.
If the episode under consideration be thus interpreted macrocosmically as an allegory of Creation then, as we have seen, the second act in the great drama portrays the entry upon the stage of the succeeding masculine generator—Isaac, the husband-to-be. In this second phase Isaac in his turn personifies Spirit, and the element of water with which Rebekah was associated corresponds to undifferentiated matter. The water collected within the well represents matter which is no longer spread universally throughout the infinitudes of Space, but is now circumscribed and available for the production and preservation of living beings and things—human, animal and plant. In the story these three are represented respectively by people, camels and fodder. Rebekah personifies the consciousness of substance or Space both before impregnation by Spirit (before she is married) and afterwards when she becomes wife and mother.
Isaac’s servant who conveys the marriage proposal (like the Angel of the Annunciation) represents the forth-shining Ray of creative power which meets virginal Space. Although completely unprepared Rebekah at once responds, a circumstance in itself so unusual, and even unlikely, as also to suggest the possibility of an under-meaning. Indeed, one is here reminded of the manner in which the Virgin Mary received, and with humility accepted, the announcement of her forthcoming motherhood. Whilst extremely personal, and susceptible of interpretation microcosmically, the two stories may justly be thought of as allegories also descriptive of cosmogenetic procedures.
TWO MICROCOSMIC INTERPRETATIONS
At this point two possible human applications of this story of Rebekah at the well may be advanced. One of these refers to the relationship existing between the Monad of man and his spiritual Soul or Ego, and the other to that between the Ego and his physical personality.
In order to understand the first of these, it must be realised that on emerging from the divine Consciousness for the purpose of evolution (the setting forth of heroes or their representatives upon journeys) the Monad (Abraham) projects a Ray (the eldest servant) of its Spirit-Essence or Monadic power. As earlier stated, this Ray is generally portrayed as the voice of a messenger or an Angel of Annunciation. When the human kingdom is entered in the course of Monadic evolution, the Monad is connected by its Ray with the immortal spiritual Soul of the human being in its vesture of light or Causal Body (Rebekah).
Kabbalism expresses this idea as follows:
“Come and see when the soul reaches that place which is called the Treasury of Life, she enjoys a bright and luminous mirror, which receives its light from the highest heaven. The soul could not bear this light but for the luminous mantle which she puts on. For just as the soul, when sent to this earth, puts on an earthly garment to preserve herself here, so she receives above a shining garment, in order to be able to look without injury into the mirror whose light proceeds from the Lord of Light. Moses too could not approach to look into that higher light which he saw, without putting on such an ethereal garment; as it is written—’And Moses went into the midst of the cloud’ (Exod. xxiv, 18), which is to be translated by means of the cloud wherewith he wrapped himself as if dressed in a garment At that time Moses almost discarded the whole of his earthly nature; as it is written,—’And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights’ (ibid.); and he thus approached that dark cloud where God is enthroned. In this wise the departed spirits of the righteous dress themselves in the upper regions in luminous garments, to be able to endure that light which streams from the Lord of Light.’’ (Sohar, i, 56b,66a )
A female character nearly always personifies this vehicle of the Monad, which is the instrument of consciousness through which-the powers of the abstract intelligence—the spiritual and prophetic mentality of man —naturally function. This Principle of man, the Causal Body, is both receptive of the powers of spiritual will and intuitiveness and is also the conserver of powers developed through successive Earth lives. It is therefore to be regarded as feminine, and even maternal, in character and is frequently symbolised by a ship, an ark or a womb. In Kabbalism this vesture of light is also said to be symbolised by the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Christian D. Ginsburg, LL.D., writes: “... the soul possesses two kinds of powers and two sorts of feelings. It has the faculty for that extraordinary prophetical knowledge, which was vouchsafed to Moses in an exceptional manner, called the Luminous Mirror, and the ordinary knowledge termed the Non-Luminous Mirror, respectively represented in the earthly Paradise by the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil;... The symbol of the Ark is very apt, for the spiritual Soul of man contains throughout the whole period of human evolution both the potencies of the Monad and the products of the evolutionary procedure, which it preserves and makes available to the individual in succeeding reincarnations.
The story of Isaac and Rebekah, as already observed, includes elements which lift it above the usual association of courtship and marriage. The symbols of water, the well, a servant and jewels, together with divine direction and the applied powers of obtaining knowledge of distant and future events, all combine to lift the story out of the purely human into the domain of the magical and the occult. The student of symbology sees in these elements instruction given by the authors to regard tlje narrative as an allegory concealing profound truths. The courtship, marriage and parenthood of Isaac and Rebekah are, I submit, more than romantic incidents in a beautiful love story; for they portray macrocosmic and microcosmic truths.
If the story of Isaac and Rebekah be regarded as an allegory of Initiation, then Isaac personifies the Candidate who has learnt of the existence of the Mysteries, their sublime purposes and the wisdom which they enshrine (Rebekah). He is the son of a great patriarch who arranges the marriage by occult means. Abraham is thus the Initiator and Isaac a neophyte duly prepared to attain expansions of consciousness produced by passage through successive Rites. Such aspirations are always given due consideration by the occult Authorities on this planet. On acceptance, arrangements are made to bring the aspirant into the presence of a member of the Temple, who will in due course present him before the Hierophant. This secret procedure is indicated by Abraham’s prevision concerning Rebekah and his very peculiar instructions to his messenger, who successfully accomplished his mission.
As a Hierophant, and therefore possessed of supernormal faculties, Abraham would have detected the place where Rebekah was to be found and foreseen her acquiescence, as also that of her family. Interpreted, this implies an occult knowledge that the Candidate was sufficiently evolved to justify his admission to the Greater Mysteries.
In this reading Rebekah as a member of a well-to-do family, and discovered by the servant at a well, in one meaning represents pure Wisdom, a word which in Kabbalism is used in a special sense. “It is the Principle of all the Principles, the mysterious Wisdom, the crown of all that which there is of the most High.” Many passages of the Old Testament also stress the value of spiritual discernment (Buddhi, Sk.). The Book of Proverbs (IV: 7) states, for example: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” In Proverbs XVI: 16 we read: “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!...” In Daniel XII: 3 it is written: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” The Candidate must make this treasure of pure wisdom (Rebekah) his very own. Metaphorically, a marriage must occur.
Rebekah also personifies the Mysteries themselves, and the well of water their content of supernal knowledge; for the Mysteries, the most beneficent and enduring of all earthly Institutions, both possess and, as did Rebekah, purvey the “waters” of eternal Truth. Each successful neophyte receives that measure which his temperament and development permit him to assimilate. Rebekah at the well, drawing water for the servant and his camels, thus aptly symbolises the Greater Mysteries in their functions of preserving throughout the ages and delivering to the worthy the very “waters” of living Truth.
The fact that the incident occurred at Nahor in Mesopotamia, near Ur of the Chaldees, the original home of the family of Abraham, supports this view. Abraham’s servant was very specially instructed to obtain for Isaac a wife, not from the land of Canaan but from the family’s original home in Chaldea, at that time a Centre of the Ancient Mysteries. Here may be seen a statement of the necessity of going to the original source (Chaldea) for pure wisdom, and of avoiding colourations and encrustations inseparable from later human interpretations and expositions (other lands).
The Candidate’s aspiring thoughts are turned in search of those aspects of the eternal wisdom which he can assimilate, and of that Temple of the Mysteries where that wisdom is to be found. The beautiful story indicates, it may here be repeated, that no worthy aspirant is ever refused admission to the Sanctuary, for this is a law both of life itself and of the Mysteries, under which law no-one ever selflessly cries for light in vain. The sincere search for truth, understanding and knowledge, sought for their own sake and solely with altruistic motives, must always be assisted by the Guardians of those treasures and granted in the fullest measures to the neophyte according to his karma and interior development. Thus Rebekah readily responds to the servant’s request for water, food and hospitality for man and beast. Her family similarly receive with favour the plea that Rebekah should return with him to Isaac in order that they might be married. Their immediate response, despite lack of information concerning Isaac’s family, is most unusual and may also be taken to indicate the presence of an undermeaning.
The subsequent meeting, mutual love and marriage of Rebekah and Isaac portray both the neophyte’s assimilation of spiritual and occult knowledge, and his admission to the Temple and to membership of the Great White Brotherhood of the Adepts and Initiates of the planet, possibly referring to the high priests “for ever after the order of Melchisedec”, to which order Jesus was said to be admitted.
REBEKAH AT THE WELL
Occult tradition suggests that St. Paul was an Initiate of the Greater Mysteries, an idea which is supported by his use of certain terms from Mystery Rituals in his Epistles. Amongst these are:
…as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation...” (I Cor. III: 10).
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. (I Cor. III: 16).
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ,.and stewards of the mysteries of God. (I Cor. IV: 1).
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought. (I Cor. 11:6).
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery... (Eph. Ill: 3).
I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth); such an one caught up to the third heaven.
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;).
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter (the Initiate’s solemn vow of silence). (II Cor. XII: 2-4).
H. P. Blavatsky writes: Another proof that Paul belonged to the circle of the Initiates’ lies in the following fact. The Apostle had his head shorn at Cenchrea (Acts XVIII: 18) where Lucius (Apuleius) was initiated, because ‘he had a vow.’ The Nazars—or set apart—as we see in the Jewish Scriptures, had to cut their hair, which they wore long, and which ‘no razor touched’ at any other time, and sacrifice it on the alter of initiation. And the Nazars were a class of Chaldean theurgists or Initiates.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. V, p. 137).
Verses eighteen and nineteen of the Sixth Chapter of Hebrews would appear to refer to the changeless wisdom as man’s ultimate refuge and hope “as an anchor of the soul” and to its concealment “within the veil The text reads as follows:
18. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.
19. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.
The passage relating to Melchisedec is highly suggestive of the existence of a mystical Order of dedicated Beings to which Abraham made an offering, whilst Melchisedec himself can be no earthly man for he is said by St. Paul, himself an Initiate, to be “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (Heb. VII: 3).
A fuller interpretation of the story of Rebekah at the well is offered in the appropriate place in the text.
ADAM, EVE, THE GARDEN OF EDEN AND THE “FALL” OF MAN
The reader will notice that in the early Chapters of Part Three of this Volume two forms of certain verses of the Book of Genesis are given. The first of these is taken from the King James Version, whilst in the second the Hebrew forms of certain words and their literal translations have been added. This procedure is followed partly to provide the original text and partly to indicate the basis for some of the proffered interpretations, all of which are founded upon that Ageless Wisdom to which the Greeks gave the title Theosophia, derived from the two Greek words Theo and sophia—Divine Wisdom.
The first known literary use of this Greek word is found in the writings of the Neo-Platonists in the Second Century of the Christian era, who employed it to connote the truths r.evealed to man by his evolutionary Elders at the dawn of human life on this planet. These truths have been added to, checked and re-checked down to the present day by an unbroken succession of Adept investigators. This term, Adept, refers to an Initiate of the Fifth Degree in the Greater Mysteries, a Master in the science of esoteric philosophy, a perfected man, an exalted Being who has attained complete mastery over his purely human nature and possesses knowledge and power commensurate with lofty evolutionary stature. Such fulfilment of human destiny is thus described by St. Paul: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Certain Adepts remain on Earth in physical bodies in order to assist humanity, and are presumably referred to by St. Paul as “just men made perfect”. The Lord Christ referred to a far more lofty destiny for man, saying: “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The full fruits of the processes of Adept research and revelation have been preserved by the still-living Hierophants and Initiates of the Greater Mysteries. In their doctrinal aspect these Mysteries consist of a vast body of teaching which embraces every conceivable subject to which the mind of man can be turned. The fundamental principles of religion, philosophy, art, science and politics are all contained within this Wisdom of the Ages. From the time of the closing of the Neo-Platonic and Gnostic Schools to the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, save for the few Alchemists, Kabbalists, Rosicrucians, occultly instructed Masons and the Christian mystics, Theosophy was little known in the Western world. Before then it was studied in various forms by the Platonists, the Pythagoreans, the Egyptians and the Chaldeans, whilst in India and China it has been preserved down the ages in unbroken continuity. It is the wisdom of the Upanishads and the Vedas, the very heart of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam. By means of allegory and symbol it is revealed in the Christian Scriptures, the dead-letter reading of which has blinded Christians to their deeper significance.
The study of comparative religion does, in fact, reveal the existence of certain doctrines which are common to all World Faiths. Although differently presented in each, when collected and blended into a whole these teachings constitute a basic body of revealed Truth which can be studied independently of all religious systems. Each world religion reveals an arc of the circle of Eternal Wisdom. Theosophy, although as yet but partially revealed to man, is the full circle of Truth. Age by age, at the direction of Those who are the Guardians of knowledge and its accompanying power, aspects of this all-inclusive body of ideas are revealed to man through world religions and philosophies. The theme of this book is that certain power-bestowing aspects of Theosophia have always been partially concealed under a veil of allegory and symbol. This is because such knowledge can bestow theurgic, hypnotic and other powers susceptible of misuse. Rightly used, however, it can be of great value to mankind and since the present is an age when many are searching deeply for a philosophy of life which will support them when in danger, stress and need, the time has now arrived, I believe, when the outer layers of this veil may usefully, if but partially, be drawn aside. The interpretations of the Scriptures which now begin are based upon these convictions. Here, then, is an attempt to lift the mysterious veil of the Temple which one day for all men, we may hope, will be “rent in twain from the top to the bottom”.
Since some of the concepts of the cosmogony of occult philosophy are included in the interpretations of the Book of Genesis which now follow, a brief statement of them may prove helpful, especially to those contacting these ideas for the first time.
The first five verses of the Book of Genesis describe the opening phases of the process of creation as follows:
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was without form, and void-, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Thus originally there existed duality in unity, namely the Spirit of God (the masculine creative potency) on the one hand and the face of the deep (the feminine creative potency) on the other. Primarily there was a dual Principle, a positive and a negative, Spirit-Matter. During the long creative “Night”, which in Sanskrit is called Pralaya  (rest), there was darkness upon the face of the deep. The whole of boundless Space was dark and quiescent. Then, it is stated, a change occurred. The Spirit of God, having emerged from Absolute Existence, moved upon the face of the waters. The “Great Breath” breathed upon the “Great Deep”, whereupon emanation began to occur and ordered manifestation (Manvantara) was initiated.
Thus, behind and beyond and within all is the Eternal and Infinite Parent from within which the temporary and the finite emerge, or are born. That Boundless Self-Existence is variously referred to as the Absolute, the Changeless, the Eternal ALL, the Causeless Cause, the Rootless Root. This is Non-Being, Negative Existence, No-Thing, Ain (as the Kabbalist says), an impersonal Unity without attributes conceivable by man.
In occult philosophy the term “God” in its highest meaning refers to a Supreme, Eternal and Indefinable Reality. This Absolute is inconceivable, ineffable and unknowable. Its revealed existence is postulated in three terms: an absolute Existence, an absolute Consciousness and an absolute Bliss. Infinite Consciousness is regarded as inherent in the Supreme Being as a dynamic Force that manifests the potentialities held in its own infinitude, and calls into being forms out of its own formles depths. From that, the Absolute, emerged an active, Creative Power and Intelligence to become the formative Deity, the Demiurgos, of the Universe-to-be. The illumined Sages thus taught that the Eternal One which is potentially twofold (Spirit-Matter), is subject to cyclic, rhythmic Motion, a primordial Third which is also eternal. Under certain conditions the relationship of the conjoined Spirit-Matter changes from passive unity into active duality—distinct positive and negative potencies.
Thus, when “interior” Motion causes hitherto unified, quiescent Spirit-Matter to become oppositely polarized or creatively active, then there is activity, light, “Day”; for these two (Universal Spirit and Universal Matter) produce a third, a “Son”, which becomes the presiding Deity, the Logos, the Architect, of the resultant Universe. A finite Principle has now emerged from the Infinite. Universal Spirit- Matter-Motion have become focussed into a “Being” Who is beyond normal human comprehension. This is the One Alone, the “only-begotten Son” (when correctly translated, “alone begotten” or emanated from a unified, single Source), being of “one substance with the Father”, which in this case is the Absolute, the Uncreate. By this “Son”, the Cosmic Christ, all worlds are fashioned, “He” being the Emanator, Architect, Sustainer and Regenerator of Universes and all that they will ever contain.
This formative Logos is the first objective Emanation of the Absolute. It is the Principle of divine Thought, now to be made manifest in an individual sense, firstly as the Logos of the whole Cosmos, secondly as the Solar Deity of a single Solar System, and thirdly as the Logos of the Soul of every human being—the Dweller in the Innermost. These Three are One, indivisible, identical, an integral part of each other, a whole. In the beginning, when newly formed, the First, the One Alone, is purely spiritual and intellectual. Ultimately, as we have seen, It becomes manifested as both the presiding Power, Life and Intelligence transcendent beyond all that objectively exists and the indwelling and transforming divine Life immanent within all Nature, all beings and all things.
Such, in outline, are some of the cosmogonical ideas to be found in occult philosophy. Further expositions of them will be found in the interpretations of the Book of Genesis which follow.
A MISTRANSLATED WORD
As I embark upon the task of offering interpretations of the Bible and begin with its very first Book, the Book of Genesis, I wish to draw attention to a single important word which appears in the original Hebrew text. This word is tho and translated from the Hebrew means “symbolic” The reader is asked, therefore, especially to note the following three commentaries upon the presence of this word in the Hebrew text, and also the way in which it is translated in both the Authorised and Revised Versions of the Bible (Author).
On this subject, F. J. Mayers in his book The Unknown God writes as follows:
Gen. II: 4. “These are the generations of the heaven and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven... (R-V.) 
“The first thing we notice when we compare the above version with the original Hebrew Text, is that the latter contains a word which is not translated at all in the English. It was also ignored in the Latin translation. The translators apparently did not know what to do with it. The Hebrew Text reads: ‘aelleh tho-ledoth’. The little word ‘tho’ which the translators have passed over, denotes ‘symbolic It may be applied to a book, a fable, a hieroglyph, a discourse, or anything else which is of a ‘symbolic’ nature. The translators of the ‘Septuagint’ did not ignore the word, but they ‘by-passed’ its real meaning... and translated it merely by the word ‘book that avoided raising awkward questions. What the whole phrase really stated quite clearly was, that the ‘generations’ or ‘productions’ of the heavens and the earth... would be described in symbolic language. It is particularly illuminating that the writer of Genesis should himself tell us this in advance. He takes the ground from under the feet of those who are continually seeking to literalise’ and ‘de-spiritualise’ the Bible...”
(The Unknown God, Chap. Sixteen.)
Fabre d’Olivet states:
“The root ‘tho’ contains every idea of sign, of symbol, of hieroglyphic character...”
(The Hebraic Tongue Restored).
In his Foreword, the translator of The Hebraic Tongue Restored writes:
“... He (Fabre d’Olivet) asserts plainly and fearlessly that the Genesis of Moses was symbolically expressed and ought not to be taken in a purely literal sense. Saint Augustine recognized this, and Origen avers that if one takes the history of the creation in the literal sense, it is absurd and contradictory.”...
“According to the Essenian tradition, every word in this Sefiher of Moses contains three meanings—the positive or simple, the comparative or figurative, the superlative or hieratic. When one has penetrated to this last meaning, all things are disclosed through a radiant illumination and the soul of that one attains to heights which those bound to the narrow limits of the positive meaning and satisfied with the letter which killeth never know.
“The learned Maimonides says ‘Employ you (sic) reason, and you will be able to discern what is said allegorically, figuratively and hyper- bolically, and what is meant literally.”
(From translator’s Foreword to The Hebraic Tongue Restored, Fabre d’Olivet, by Nayan Louise Redfield, translator from original French).
“IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH”
For the guidance of readers I would here mention that many verses of the first three Chapters of Genesis are treated in the following manner: Verses from the King James Version are quoted. Then follows an analysis based upon the Hebrew words employed, their literal translations and, the application of the results to an elucidation of the subject matter. Brackets are used to enclose the Hebrew words and their translations.
The following proffered commentary on the cosmogony of the Book of Genesis is largely founded upon occult philosophy or theosophic Cosmo- genesis. I have, in consequence, used some of the Sanskrit words generally employed in this system such as Pralaya, which simply means “period of quiescence between Universes”, and Manvantara which means “period of activity”, These terms are fully explained in footnotes and in the Glossary, and I trust that their use will not render even more difficult the study of an admittedly abstruse, but profoundly interesting, subject. For those to whom this approach is new the interpretations may possibly seem somewhat complex, particularly compared with the comparative simplicity of the Biblical language.
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
1. In the beginning (b’resheth, Heb., “in principal, primarily, wisdom”) God (Elohim, Heb., “gods, the Unity of gods, powers, qualities, activities of the Supreme Being expressing one will, one purpose, one harmony”) created (bara, Heb., “an internal movement of Spirit originated, He created”, and shith, Heb., “a hexad or complete relationship, cycle or work”) the heaven (shamaim, Heb., “exalted waters, the divine spiritual, positive pole of creation”) and the earth (aretz, Heb., “the primal element in its final, most material state, the lowest, most material negative pole”).
2. And the earth was without form, and void (thohou wa bohou, Heb., “a contingent and potential existence”); and darkness (hoskeck, Heb., “that which closes in and brings a feeling of helpless ignorance, of being lost”) was upon the face of the deep (tho-hom, Heb., “all the potentialities of things to be universally”).
The Bible thus opens with the affirmation that an intelligent, self-knowing group of formative agencies of cosmic evolutionary stature [Elohim)  was responsible for the direction of the form-producing impulse which arose in pre-cosmic Space. Wherever the term “God” is used in Genesis the word in the original text is Elohim, meaning not a single Being, but an Order of creative Intelligences, as stated above. The terms “the heaven” and “the earth” refer to the separation of primordial substance (heavens) from the manifested Universe (the earth). J. Ralston Skinner writes: “It is made to be read ‘B’rashith bara Elohim’ etc.
‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;’ wherein Elohim is a plural nominative to a verb in the third person singular. Nachmanides called attention to the fact that the text might suffer the reading, ‘B’rash ithbara Elohim’ etc., ‘In the head (source or beginning) created itself (or developed) Gods, the heavens and the earth,’ really a more grammatical rendering.” 
THE NAME “GOD”
The term “God” as used in these verses is thus not singular but plural in its implications. Although the original directive Intelligence— the Precursor and Source of Universal Mind—arose in a unitary state from its root in pre-cosmic Space, immediately that agency became outward-turned the rule of number obtained. One alone cannot manifest; three are essential to the production of any result. This is as true of cosmic manifestation as of microcosmic or human creation, whether intellectual or physical. No germ is a unit, each at its simplest being a triplicity of potentials, namely the positive, the negative and their productive interaction. So also the germ of a Cosmos which, though a unit in Pralaya, displays a number at the outset of Manvantara The term God, therefore, as used in these verses is to be understood, as in Kabbalism, to refer to the group of intelligent, productive agencies inherent in and emanated from pre-cosmic Space, the Elohim, The first Chapter of Genesis is, in consequence, called the Elohistic and the second the Jehovistic.
The question is sometimes asked, even by children: “If God made all things, who made God?” Occult philosophy answers “No-one”; for the Demiurgos or active Logos is an Emanation from the immutable Infinite, the Boundless, the Absolute, which cannot will, think or act until it has “become” partially manifest as finite. This it does by the projection of a Ray which penetrates into Infinite space, there to become the Architect of the resultant Universe. Kabbalism expresses this as follows: “There was a time when Heaven and Earth did not exist, but only an unlimited Space in which reigned absolute immobility. All the visible things and all that which possesses existence were born in that Space from a powerful principle, which existed by Itself, and from Itself developed Itself, and which made the heavens revolve and preserved the universal life; a principle as to which philosophy declares we know not the name...”
GOD, THE TOTALITY OF EXISTENCE
The term “God”, therefore, carries a number of implications. It includes physical Nature; the evolutionary impulse imparted to it; the irresistible formative force which bestows the attribute of self-reproduction and the capacity to express it; the creative Intelligences—the Elohim— which direct the manifestations and the operations of that force; the divine thought or ideation of the whole Cosmos from its beginning to its end; and the sound of the creative “Voice” (Logos) by which that ideation is impressed upon pre-cosmic substance. These, together with all seeds, beings, forces and laws, including those of expansion, alternation, cyclic progression and harmonious equipoise, constitute that totality of existence to which alone may be given with any measure of fitness the majestic and awe-inspiring title “God”
If so vast a synthesis may be designated a Being, then that Being is so complex, so all-inclusive, as to be beyond the comprehension of the human mind and the possibility of restriction to any single form. The idea of God also includes everlasting Law, everlasting Will, everlasting Life and everlasting Mind.
In non-manifestation God is quiescent, in manifestation objectively active. Behind both quiescence and activity exists THAT which is eternal and unchanging, the Absolute, Self-Existent ALL. The divine Creator referred to by various names in the world’s cosmogonies is the active expression of that eternal, incomprehensible One Alone.
EMANATION, NOT CREATION
Similarly, the word “create” has its particular significance. The production of something previously non-existent in any state is not to be understood or implied by this word. To emanate or make manifest more truly describe the process; for Cosmos is inherent in Chaos, the difference being not of substance but of condition. Formlessness and darkness describe Chaos. Form and light describe Cosmos. Both conditions are inherent in pre-cosmic substans. The verses should therefore be translated as follows: “At the dawn of the return of Manvantara, the group of creative Intelligences resumed activity, with the result that the germ of Cosmos inherent in Chaos commenced to unfold according to natural law.” This process is continuous throughout the period of manifestation, for the Universe is a perpetual becoming, not a static condition of being. This applies equally to the primordial “elements”, to the substances derived from them to the forms of Nature and to their ensouling life. All grows or expands from less to more from the dawn of the first “day” of emanation to the evening of the last or seventh “day”
Gen. 1: 2 (last sentence). And the Spirit (ruach, Heb., “breath, spirit, wind, expansion, spiritualisation”) of God moved (mera- chepheth, Heb., “breathes life into”) upon the face of the waters.
Herein is presented the primordial trinity, namely Spirit, space (waters) and motion. The essential triplicity of the creative agencies is here perfectly described. “The Spirit of God” is the masculine potency within the germ of Cosmos pre-existent in Chaos. “The waters” and “the deep” are symbols or hierograms for the feminine potency, and the movement of the former upon or within the latter is the third potency essential to manifestation. In terms of electricity, it is the current which passes between positive and negative poles. Thus in the first two verses of Genesis the creative necessities are symbolically introduced and creative activity is allegorically described.
Gen. 1: 3. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.
3. And God said (amor, Heb., “enlightened, brought to light, made manifest”), Let there be (ye-he, Heb., “there shall be”) light (aor, Heb., “intelligence; God willed light and the Divine Intelligence flashed into active being”): and there was light.
Again a threefold agency is described but, be it observed, an agency differing from the first. Whereas the original triplicity is integral, comprising the whole of existence, its successor is productive only and is completed by a product. This latter trinity of Genesis consists first of ideation—the thought of light; second of active productive power-— speech; and third of the product—Universal Mind, here called light.
Progression from the germinal to the active state is thus indicated. The manifesting process has not only been initiated, but has also become effective. Light is described as the first product of the generative act and this light is “born” of ideation and power, or thought and speech, the true “parents” of Cosmos. Yet these three are not separate existences, but one; for speech is thought expressed in sound and the product, light, was inherent in divine thought.
In almost all cosmogonies emanating from the world’s Sanctuaries, sound is made the creative agency. Since words express thought, so behind the “Word” is divine thought or archetypal ideation, of which the Logos is an expression in Time, Space and Motion—the everlasting Trinity in unity. The energy which in an appropriate medium (air) produces the effect of sound is released and expressed in every physical sound. Vocal self-expression is the mark of man, and did he but realise that fact he would be infinitely careful of his speech. The rituals of the Sanctuaries of old, and the words uttered in such ceremonial Rites as have their origin therein, are all based upon recognition of the power in the human voice. When a man discovers the mystery of the soniferous Akasa he becomes an Adept, a Theurgist, a Magician—hence the practice of enveilment. All Nature obeys the “Voice” of the Divine, whether as Logos or illumined man. The ancient Sages knew this and revealed it solely by allegory in the form of the creative utterances which their cosmogonies relate.
In Kabbalism, the theosophy or hidden wisdom of Hebraism, creative procedures are indicated by means of a diagram known as The Sephirothal Tree of Life. The ten Sephiroth of which this diagram consists are regarded as ten spheres of divine manifestation in which God emerges from His hidden abode in order to produce the Universe. This is accomplished with the aid of ten Hierarchies of spiritual Intelligences, or Archangels and angels. The action and development of the mysterious force which is the “seed” of all “Creation” is speech-force expressive of archetypal thought. The human faculty of speech is said to have been anticipated in God; for according to the Zoha the successive phases of the emanation of the Universe include the primeval Will, formative thought, the inner and inaudible “Word”, audible voice and ultimately man’s utterance of words. Malkuth (the Kingdom) occupies the lowest point in the diagram and represents the “sounding-board” of physical Nature. Kether (the Crown) at the top of the Tree is regarded as the Source of the creative sound. The Sephiroth are but chords in the creative “Word”, component characteristics of the One Sound or “Song Divine”. Thus the Lord challenged Job concerning the time when He laid the foundations of the Earth, asking him “…who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
To reiterate, these masculine and feminine creative potencies, together with motion, pre-existed within the germ. The first activity to occur within that germ is ideation, or the arising of the concept of the eternal design. This process is followed by the expression of that Archetype in terms of power or energy, the product being divine Intelligence symbolised as light. Thus six agencies are introduced in the first three verses. Two stages are also described, the pre-cosmic and the primary cosmic, the pre-existent and the first manifested existence.
LIGHT, AN EXPRESSION OF THE FIRST ACTIVE LOGOS
The first-born light contains the potencies of its parents and grandparents, namely power, thought (the parents), and feminine and masculine potency endowed with motion (the grandparents). The first light, therefore, is itself a complete creative power, a synthesis of the total essentials for manifestation, the Cosmic Christos or Son by Whom “all things were made”. By light, self-existing as a unitary synthesis, the sevenfold creative agency is completed. The Adonai  is made manifest as Elohim.
The first light may therefore be defined as the active Verbum or Logos, the potent, creative agency whose arising from latency in the cosmic germ is the mark, the sign and the demonstration that Pralaya has given place to Manvantara. This first light is the highest manifested Deity and, as observed, to it alone with all its implications may justly and truly be applied the term “God
No personalisation of THAT, which becomes “Creator” or Mani- festor according to law, is either philosophically sound or spiritually reverent. Though the producer of life-imbued form, it is itself essentially formless as its symbol—”light”—accurately portrays. Even in action as a manifesting agency its symbol is speech, or the potency and activity of thought-sound, which again is formless.
A further definition of God as presented in these verses of Genesis might be that it is a single, a threefold and a sevenfold directive Agency, originally inherent in pre-cosmic substans and now active throughout the whole field of creative activity. This activity is infallibly guided by numerical necessity. God as the first light is therefore not almighty, being subject to mathematical law, which is the absolute if abstract Monarch of the Cosmos. The dual title “Logos-Law” best depicts the true parental Deity of which the present Cosmos is the product or “Son”.
Gen. 1: 4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
External awareness is here postulated as an essential of cosmic formative procedure. The primordial Parent, having awakened from pralayic sleep, first becomes active in terms of light; for light and darkness respectively are symbols of spiritual activity and quiescence. In one interpretation, light in the allegorical language is descriptive of a condition of consciousness, a state of being in which Spirit predominates over matter. Darkness, on the other hand, symbolises the dominance of matter over Spirit. The first sentence of this verse is therefore repetitive, and says that pre-cosmic “night” or Pralaya had given place to cosmic “day” or Manvantara, but adds that the newly-awakened creative Agency was now aware of that change and henceforth entered consciously upon its official activity.
The subsequent division of light from darkness described in the second sentence of the verse is the first Biblical reference to alternation. The primary pair consists of pre-Cosmos and Cosmos, allegorically called night and day, darkness and light, respectively. During the darkness no activity save absolute, and therefore incognisable, activity exists and only darkness —to the finite mind—obtains, alternation being confined to Cosmos, for once Cosmos appears alternation is inseparable from it. This is because a contrasting pair—quiescence and activity or absolute and finite existence —has come into being. These two constitute the darkness and the light which are automatically divided from each other when Cosmos appears.
The term “God”, therefore, here also refers to essential, inescapable law under which duality must obtain whenever there is finiteness. From these first “parents” all successive and subordinate dualities arise, and continue in a descending scale down to the smallest living things. Thus alternation may truly be stated to be both the law of existence and the essential condition of awareness. The moment light exists, darkness is known as its inseparable opposite.
Gen. 1: 5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the fast day.
5. And God called the light Day (iom, Heb., “a manifestation of light universally, or not limited to any mundane period”) and the darkness he called Night (chaos in which God was unmanifested). And the evening (ereb, Heb., “something which is over, finished, passed; the darkness which passes away”) and the morning (boker, Heb., “something which arises; the arising of the divine light or flashing into existence of divine intelligence”) were the first day.
This verse repeats the above-mentioned law of alternation and affirms divine awareness of its operation; for naming and name in the allegorical language describe conscious, demiurgic activity by mind and will, thought and power, to produce individuality out of that which hitherto was universal. A name is definite and separative. Once anything is named it has individuality and is therefore separated from other individualities.
By naming the new Cosmos, or area therein, the Logos limits the universal, marks out an area in which creative activity is to be confined. This insulafion also is achieved, or automatically occurs, by the combined operation of consciousness and sound. In this verse, therefore, the external limits cf the Universe-to-be are defined and marked out. Within those limits the precisely ordained frequencies of oscillation of the creative power must eventually rule. As the genesis and fecundation of the universal “egg” —symbol of r.ll new “creations” whether cosmic, universal or solar—these frequencies arc apportioned by numerical law. They are affirmed by Universal Mind as expressive of both the underlying character and the potential attainment of the new Universe. The first sentence of the verse, therefore, describes these two processes.
The second sentence, referring to evening and morning, reintroduces the property of time, mentioned in the opening words of the Chapter. Subdivisions of time are thus affirmed as being inseparable from the change from Chaos to Cosmos. The words “in the beginning” (b’resheth, at first, in principle) actually mean the beginning, or rather the re-emergence, of all things. Evening and morning of the first day refer to the opening and’ the close of the first creative epoch or “day”.
The use of the word “first” suggests a succession, thus introducing the subject of Numbers. As indicated in Volume One of this work, numbers in the symbolical language carry significations beyond numerical figurations alone. Each number has its own metaphysical meanings, one of which includes the living Intelligence which it also represents.
Every creative “day”, for example, has its Deity or number; for numbers in this connection are, as stated, living Intelligences emanated from the “One”, meaning the finite but universal Intelligence which is the active, but not absolute, Parent of all. In terms of formative Intelligences, when the First of the Seven has completed its day of activity, has produced its inevitable effects, it withdraws to give place to its brother, who is the second in the succession.
Gen. 1: 6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
6. And God said, Let there be a firmament (rakia, Heb., “an expanse stretching out, linked with both the spiritual and the material; the foundation of the heavens”) in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
In this verse the defining and insulating process is carried out in primordial substance, symbolised by waters, as earlier it has been carried out in primordial thought. The waters which were under the firmament, which represents the manifested visible Universe, were divided from the waters which were above the firmament, meaning the invisible, superphysical planes of Nature.
The term “firmament” (literally a rarifying) here refers to the enveloping “shell” or “membrane” in which the foetal, physical Universe is enclosed, and which separates substance without from substance within.
Gen. 1: 7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
This verse allegorically describes the establishment of the membrane by the action of creative thought and will expressed as sound.
Gen. 1: 8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
The further establishment (by means of naming) of the limits of the selected creative area is here partly described. This may be likened to the natural process of the hardening into a shell or skin of the outer layer of an enclosing foetal membrane. In universal creative processes this shell is descriptively referred to as a “Ring-pass-not”, and the verse shows that this is part of the activity of the Second Number or creative Intelligence, whilst its completion marks the successful fulfilment of that Second Number’s work or “day”.
Numbered days and nights have therefore a dual significance. They refer both to the existence and activity of the creative Intelligence connoted by the number, and also to the condition of substance resulting from its completed work throughout the second “day” or creative epoch.
WATER, DRY LAND, FISHES AND BEASTS OF THE EARTH
Gen. 1: 9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together (ikkavoo, Heb., “to have a strong tendency towards some place, state or purpose”) unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
In this opening description of the third cycle or “day” of creative activity, the first of many errors—if I may presume to say so—appears in the Book of Genesis. This consists of the erroneous merging into one cycle of two distinct processes which are in reality separated from each other by a vast period of time. Actually, each process occupies its own complete cycle from morning to evening of a creative “day”. As explained, so-called creative “days” are separated from each other by so-called “nights”.
The original authors, being Initiates of the Mysteries of Chaldea, must have known this truth. The error, therefore, must either be deliberate in order to conceal from full revelation the then secret knowledge of septenary cycles and sub-cycles, or else be a mistake made by less well- informed or uninitiated authors or translators. Whatever the explanation, a miscomputation was made and must be corrected for and by every student of cosmogony.
This division of intra-universal water, or primordial substance, into two states—liquid and solid—and the establishment in the demiurgic Mind of the thought of the mineral kingdom, followed by the slow process of the embodiment of that formative thought in appropriately densified substance, occupies a complete cycle or “day” and “night”.
The intermediate mineral stage between the division of the waters and the fashioning of the plant kingdom is omitted. Furthermore, fire is not introduced until the appearance of the sun. This creative act is placed in the fourth “day”, mineral and plant having erroneously and impossibly proceeded it. The account, therefore, is sadly muddled. The emergence of the plant kingdom should rightly be placed in the cycle which would have followed the establishment of the mineral kingdom.
Gen. 1: 10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
10. And God called the dry land (iabasha, Heb., “the dryness, the stopping point of materialisation”) Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas (iamin, Heb., “manifested or visible waters”): and God saw that it was good.
The earth period or cycle occupied a whole “day”, and was the work of one of the seven creative Intelligences. Occult Cosmogenesis states that the Universe within the divine Thought became manifest as spiritual fire. Condensation and densification eventually produced the element rather than the solid substance of earth, the noumenon of the mineral kingdom. Earth and water, meaning the solid and liquid states, then existed at the same time though separated one from the other, and it is to this co-existence that the verse refers. The naming of the two elements signifies their objective manifestation, each at its own individual level. The phrase “and God saw that it was good” refers to the end of the cycle, when the designated work had been brought to its highest pitch for that period.
Gen. 1: 11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth (thadeshae, Heb., “to cause to vegetate or bring forth the more prolific and universal forms of green growth”) grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind (mazeriah Zerah, Heb., “seed seeding plants which have seed within them”), whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
This verse refers to the Plant Manvantara or Chain of the Planetary Scheme. As the germ of the whole Universe existed in pre-cosmic substance (Mulaprakriti), so also do the seeds of all living beings and their natural forms ever potentially exist within the matter of the Universe (Prakriti). As this becomes densified through all the stages on the descending arc down to the physical, the living divine seeds are densified also.
According to occult philosophy when the element of earth, however tenuous, ultimately comes into objective existence at its atomic level, amongst its atoms are master atoms which comprise the noumena of the physical seeds. When at last the dense, solid condition is reached, the master atoms constitute those seeds from which the first organic growth occurs. The plant kingdom then becomes manifest, occupies a whole cycle and continues its development in those which follow.
Just as the seed is in the fruit, so all seeds are present within the mother-substance from which everything is born. The statement that each plant yields fruit after its own kind simply refers to the divine “order” under which manifestation occurs. This order might be described as numerical law, abstract and everlasting, omnipotent and omnipresent, the supreme deific Power or creative Agency.
Under this governing law the Elohim carry out their work of making manifest through the seven planes or divisions of matter the primary creative Idea or Archetype, which is the “germ” from which the whole Universe is evolved. The constantly used term “God” is a mistranslation and a misnomer for the collective Elohim, which are imbued with and are embodiments of the primary divine Idea.
These Intelligences make manifest the Archetype or thought-germ under the absolute rule of numerical law, as we have seen. Though the whole Order of the Elohim plays its part in all cycles and in all manifestation, one component Order is predominant in each cycle according to its office and function. There are seven in all, and by the authors of Genesis, they are indirectly designated by their numbers and their “days”.
14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16. And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness-, and God saw that it was good.
19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
14. And God said, Let there be lights (maoroth, Heb., The text here says not shemesh, Heb., “Suns “, or iarech, Heb., “Moon “, but “light givers, foci, sources of enlightenment, twin centres of one light or intelligence”) in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs (othoth, Heb., or aoth-oth, Heb., “symbolic signs of the future, as if in reference to their astrological significance. The sun would then refer to the Spiritual Self and the moon, to the mortal personality”), and for seasons (moadim, Heb., “limits or divisions of time, periods, intervals, determined or appointed times”), and for days, and years (shanah, Heb., regular recurrent period”):
15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
16. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule (memesheleth, Heb., “symbolic representations of things to be; also to preside, to be a model, a representative, a symbol”) the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars (cocabbim, Heb., “physical planets which are rolled or rotate and the forces, virtues or intelligences of the planets, their spiritual influences according to ancient astrology”) also.
17-19. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
The making of the first lights—sun, moon and stars—after the passage of three days and three nights and the creation of the plant kingdom
(if such was the original statement) is, I repeat, clearly a chronological error. In the earliest available Hebrew original text, the words shemesh (Heb.) “sun”, and iarech (Heb.), “moon”, are not used. The abstract expression maoroth (Heb.), “sources of enlightenment” is the word employed. This suggests not only sources of physical light, but of mental and spiritual enlightenment also.
The five opening verses of the Book of Genesis describe the production and appearance of the first cycle, that of light. This refers to the emergence of the finite from the Absolute, of Cosmos from Chaos. The second creation of light referred to in verses 14-18 alludes to the appearance of suns in individual systems within the Cosmos. Actually Schemes, Chains, Solar and even Rounds, are inextricably mixed up in this exoterically imperfect but nevertheless, I suggest, deeply esoteric cosmogony.
The appearance of the physical sun should come first in the account of the manifestation of a single Solar System. The suggestion of a moon to rule the night as the sun rules the day, and the later creation of the stars, is a relic and an adaptation from Chaldean astro-metaphysical esotericism. Indeed, this whole account of creation in Genesis is borrowed from Chaldea, where it was taught that sun, moon and stars were the physical bodies of great creative Intelligences of varying evolutionary stature in the Occult Hierarchy of the Universe—the Dhyan Chohans  of Hinduism.
Thus intimately associated with the physical sun, moon and stars were and are great Archangels, in the Zend-Avesto., the sacred books of the Parsees, referred to as Amshashpends, who are none other than types of the Sephiroth or Elohim. These are the true creative Agents who take up their “stations” and carry out their functions in an ordered succession as the process of the production of the Universe continues. It is these Beings who as directive Intelligences preside over Manvantaras or “days”.
The verses under consideration describe that Synthesis of the Elohistic Hosts Who is the Solar Logos, the spiritual Sun behind the physical orb.
At the dawn of Creation He with His physical heart, which is the visible sun, assumes His stations, superphysical and physical, at the centre of the new Solar System and through the Elohim rules over all Manvantaras, major and minor. Pralayas alternate with these Manvantaras, and throughout the periods of non-activity members of a special Order of the Elohim are said to contain and preserve within themselves all the seeds of life. Then, in the new cycle, these seeds are delivered to the Solar Logos and the Elohim for further evolution. This constitutes part of the deeply esoteric mystery teaching allegorically revealed in the story of Noah and the Ark, and similar Flood legends.
The reference to the stars takes thought beyond a single Solar System, and may perhaps be regarded as indicating that similar processes are occurring universally during Maha-Manvantara. The whole of the cosmogony of Genesis, like all esoteric cosmogonies, refers primarily to the noumena or essential nature of Universes, Solar Systems, suns and planets, as also to the planes and kingdoms of Nature. These, as we have already seen, include their ensouling Principles, which are made objectively manifest by great creative Intelligences, members of the Hosts of the Logos, the Numbers, the Lords of the Divine Face, the Embodiments of formative Powers, Principles and Orders—the Elohim in the fullest meaning of the term.
The physical manifestation or outer appearance of Nature in all her kingdoms refers to the material “clothing” or densified auras of these Mighty Ones. In esoteric cosmogony the true fashioners of Universes according to the divine Idea are these Beings, “the Fiery Lives”, major and minor. Their emergence, assumption of office and embarkation upon appropriate activity and function, are of the most profound significance. They should be thought of not only as Beings with bodies and auras, but also as centres of Power, Life, Consciousness and Law. They, their radiance and their spheres of influence and activity, constitute the ensouling Principle of every Order of Creation, whether it be a Universe, a Solar System, a. planet, a plane or a kingdom of Nature.
In the Elohim, who constitute a vast Hierarchy of spiritual Beings— Planetary and Solar Spirits or Dhyan Chohans—the illusion of self-separated existence as experienced by pre-initiate man has entirely disappeared. They know themselves for what they truly are—component centres of the Power, Life and Consciousness of the one Synthesis of all Beings, the supreme directive Intelligence in Nature, the Solar Logos. Thus, although referred to as the Hosts of the Logos, we have seen that the Elohim may also be described as a unity, a summation and a synthesis embracing and including all divine Intelligences charged with the supervision of Cosmos.
This essential oneness of all spiritual Beings is the heart of esoteric philosophy and the key to all Cosmogonies. Universes are the bodies and the auras of resplendent Beings. Man is one such in-the-becoming, the Universe being the field of his evolution. Cosmoi are designed for him In order that from them he may learn to know both his current environment and his future activities therein. These will be to conceive, build and perfect Universes with their sun, planets, planes and kingdoms of Nature; for this is the destiny of man who is a pilgrim God.
20. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
20. And God (Elohim) said, Let the waters bring forth (ishertzou sheretz, Heb., “emit or swarm swarms”) abundantly the moving creature that hath life (nephesh chaiah, Heb., “souls of life or living soul”) and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21. And God created great whales (tanninim, Heb., “God created the living souls of extensive groups or species of beings which could multiply after their own kind”), and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22. And God blessed (barech. Heb., “not so much blessed as the bestowal of generative power”) them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
If restored to a correct chronological position, the emergence of fish, reptiles and, far later, birds from primeval slime would follow the production by Nature of her plant kingdom. These verses record this process and, reducing description to an ascetic minimum, affirm the presence of procreative and self-productive powers.
NATURE—LIVING PRODUCT OF AN INFINITE CREATIVE POTENCY
The instruction to be fruitful and multiply is of profound occult, as well as natural, significance. Nature is here shown to be what she really is, a self-perpetuating, living, conscious product of an infinite Power now made finite. Both universal Spirit and universal substance noumenally and phenomenally possess and contain the fiery energy by which all things are made. This is the true, Immanent Logos, omnipresent, all-pervading, inherent in both the Soul and the substance of the Universe. When to the Order of created things are added beings with the power of free motion, procreation becomes a consciously exercised power. The inherent reproductive capacity attains to conscious self-expression in the first creatures endowed with the power of motion, for movement is an attribute of the life-force. Locked up and held fast in the mineral, it is active there only against immense resistance. The production of molecular and chemical combinations, and therefore substances, within and from the one substance is its sole activity in the mineral kingdom of Nature.
In the plant kingdom much freer motion occurs, and therefore far fuller activity. Sentiency as possessed by animals has, however, not yet been attained by the life-force in this mineral phase of its active manifestation. No allegorical command to create is therefore given to the plant kingdom, for no power of conscious response has yet been developed. The first animal forms do possess the power consciously to procreate, and may rightly be thus described in the text as receiving from the creative “Word” a verbal command to exercise it.
24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle (behemah, Heb., singular of behemoth, Heb. The meaning of the word is doubtful —possibly a huge beast, such as a hippopotamus. The root hm together with the letters bh do not indicate the name of any animal, but rather animation, life in general and, particularly, earth life, the universal, progressive life movement of physical nature. Job XL, 15 refers to behemoth as “the chief of the ways of God”), and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth (cal-remesh, Heb., “all upward movement or progress”) upon the earth (ha-adamah, Heb., “not a synonym of earth or soil but something which is being contrasted with earth; a spiritual rather than a physical conception. All that moveth ‘manwards’”) after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
The land reptiles, and later the mammalia, followed the first denizens of water and air. Ultimately, as described in the verses which follow, the most significant event—the appearance of mankind—occurs. Nature reaches her highest achievement in the production of man.
MAN CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
26. And God said, Let us make man in our imagef after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
26. And God said, Let us make man (Adam, Heb., “the kingdom of man”) in our image (tzelem, Heb., “shadow, everything outside of Deity as Universal Light- being by contrast reflection, image, shadow”), after our likeness: and let them have dominion over (the text does not use this word, but distinctly says “in”, which appears to place man at the head of the four kingdoms of Nature—his natural position) the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
In this verse three statements are made. First, God decides to make man and announces that decision. Second, man is to be made in the likeness of God, the plural pronoun “our” suggesting that plurality is used by the Deity (Elohim)  in reference to Itself, the totality of Intelligences. Third, man (also referred to as “them”) is to have dominion over all preceding orders of creation. Clearly, as stated, the pronoun “our” refers to Elohim, a. plural name which in English translation erroneously tends to be regarded as singular and to be used with a singular verb. Immediately after the words “our image” in verse twenty-six, the statement is made in verse twenty-seven that Elohim created Adam in “His” own image, which suggests Elohim as a unity. Whilst this may seem to be contradictory, it is not so in reality; for all divine attributes, powers and formative Intelligences are summed up in Elohim, which makes of the active, manifesting God a united whole. From this point of view, at least, both plural and singular attributions are admissible.
Throughout this Cosmogony the mental decision of Deity and its verbal expression are continually posited as essentials of the process of the emanation and fashioning of a Universe. God first conceives in His mind and then expresses by His voice the name of whatever He is about to produce. This is both an allegorisation of the process of creation by sound, or the “Word”, and a personification as one Being of the various formative Agencies, the Elohim. Always it must be remembered that the “Creator” is no single Being alone, and the importance of this fact justifies its many repetitions in this Volume, for which indulgence is nevertheless sought. Although a totality in unity, “He” should rather be described as the collective, natural agencies, forces and Intelligences which arise from within and emanate from the Absolute at the dawn of Manvantara. The use of the plural pronouns “us” and “our” in this verse is therefore highly suggestive, and indeed exact.
MAN—MODEL OF THE TOTALITY OF NATURE
The decision attributed to the Deity to make mankind in His own image introduces a profound and fundamental truth concerning man, namely that in his spiritual, intellectual, psychical and physical nature he is a miniature replica of the whole Order of created beings and things. Man, according to occult philosophy, is a model of the totality of Nature, containing within himself the collective aggregate of all that ever has existed, that does at any time exist, and that ever will exist throughout the eternity of eternities. This concept is also to be found in Kabbalism, where it is formulated somewhat as follows: Man may be regarded as a symbolic transparency through which the secrets of the Cosmos may be discerned.
Man may also be looked upon as the waist of an hour-glass through which passes the sand (creative power) from the upper receptacle—the past—into the lower which represents the future. All must pass through the human kingdom; for potentially all exists within man, however great the degree of latency may be in this present epoch and however germinal as yet the possibility of the emanation and formation of future Universes and Cosmoi. Man is a microcosm, a miniature reproduction of the Macrocosm, and is therefore rightly said to be made in the image of his
Creator. The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, expressed this in his famous phrase: “The universe is a man on a large scale.” 
In Genesis man, as Nature’s highest product up to that time, is also stated to have dominion over ail earlier creations. At this point it is important to make clear the fact that man, said to be conceived and formed in the likeness of God, is not a new and separate production. As Monad he pre-existed and as an individual intelligence in human form he is the product of the slow processes of the involution and evolution of the radiated Ray or “thread” of Monadic life through elemental, plant and animal kingdoms. In them, however, the deific potencies locked up and latent in the Monad experienced but diffuse and diverse manifestation as part of a Group Soul embodied in many forms.
Nature’s greatest miracle takes place when the summit—mental, psychical and physical—of animal development is reached. The Monadic Ray is then singly focussed—rather like the sun’s rays when brought to a point of light beneath a burning glass—into one intellectual principle to constitute a new-formed spiritual Soul, a new-born Higher Self of man. It is this Monad-Ego, and not the temporary physical personality, which is made in the likeness of its Creator; for it contains within itself the potentialities of the collective agencies and forces—the Elohim—as well as of all from which they emanate and could ever produce.
Such is the immortal, imperishable and eternal man, made in the image of his Creator. Embodied in vehicles of flesh, emotion and mind, he is made manifest in the three grossest densities of substance. As a totality, a unit, a consciousness with infinite potentialities, man is indeed greater than all preceding products of Nature and in this sense (only, I submit—G.H.) may be said to have dominion over them.
Gen. 1: 27. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
In this verse the most fundamental fact concerning man is first reiterated, demonstrating its importance in the minds of those inspired Sages who discovered and gave to man the truths upon which the Book of Genesis is founded. This Ageless Wisdom teaches that man as Monad is an infinite manifestation of the deific Power, which in him is as yet largely germinal, although becoming increasingly active. The means whereby these latent potentialities in man become active powers are then indicated. These means partly consist of successive incarnations in male and female bodies on Earth, in and through which the necessary masculine and feminine experience is gained and the dual evolution attained; for the human Monad develops from within itself the attributes of the first divine, creative Pair, the positive and negative potencies, as the result of the interaction of which the Universe appears. Separate modes of manifestation—in the opposite sexes—are essential to the development of this threefold capacity inherent in the spiritual Soul of man. Nature, if her purpose is to be fulfilled, must produce two separate physical organisms with the distinct experiences and functions of man and of woman; for only thus may the twofold expression and development be gained and human evolutionary progress be achieved.
Gen. 1: 28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
AN INITIATORY INTERPRETATION
Whilst the more general significance of this verse is plainly apparent it is also susceptible of interpretation as guidance to those who are passing through advanced phases of evolution. Admittedly no such instruction may been intended, nevertheless the verse may possibly be thus interpreted in conformity with the method used by the writers of the Sacred Language of Allegory and Symbol.
As observed elsewhere in this work, there are two phases of unfoldment of very great importance in the evolution of the human Monad. One of these is its attainment of individual self-existence as the spiritual Soul of a human being, the Immortal Self in its vesture of light. The second development occurs much later in human evolution. After a considerable number of incarnations in successive civilisations and nations, realisation of spiritual identity with the Logos, and through Him with all that lives, begins to be attained. This profoundly affects the outlook of the physical personality. Love for the life in all beings, service to that life in sentient forms, and a reduction of the sense of separated selfhood, eventually to vanishing point, find expression in the illumined man. When this phase becomes sufficiently established in both the inner and the outer individualities, a spiritual Teacher guides the neophyte’s further development and eventually presents him as a Candidate for Initiation into the still existing Greater Mysteries, and for admission to the Great White Brotherhood of Initiates and Adepts which exists from eternity to eternity.
One of the several possible interpretations of the Scriptures and Mythologies of ancient peoples—as previously mentioned—reveals the guidance and training thus received. Since, when applied, these bestow great mental and thaumaturgical powers, they are concealed from the profane by the use of the Symbolical Language. As the resultant knowledge could be of the greatest value in both the worldly and the spiritual life, in order to include it in these Volumes digressions from the main textual theme are, as now, occasionally made.
Reference to Chapter Three of Part One of this Volume will show that in the cypher of the Bible physical objects, inanimate and animate, and certain key words have a special significance. Amongst these the earth itself and the members of the sub-human kingdoms of Nature are used to symbolise man’s more earthy and animal characteristics.
Thus interpreted, this verse may usefully be regarded as direction to the Candidate for Initiation to subdue his lower nature. In this sense the references to the earth, the sea and its denizens, the air and the birds and to “every living thing that moveth upon the earth” are to the undesirable aspects (earthy and animal-like) of his purely human characteristics, which it is man’s task and destiny wholly to transmute into their corresponding higher attributes. This is especially important to the aspirant to the spiritual life who is hastening beyond the normal speed the evolution of the spiritual Self to the stature of the perfect man.
The next verse, as will be seen, is more readily susceptible of interpretation in a purely physical sense.
Gen. 1: 29. And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat (achelah, Heb., “sustenance”, also “consuming and consummating”).
A statement is here made of the ideal food for man’s physical body —Nature’s plan for the nutriment of mankind. Plants are said to be the source of that food, and from this it may be assumed that divergence from the divine plan is fraught with peril to both the Soul and the body of man. Presumably the danger partly arises from the inevitable infliction of unnecessary pain and the act of killing sentient beings, the animals; for such actions must constitute crimes against that perfect harmony which is a fundamental law of Nature. The discord generated by cruelty reacts upon man as suffering. When, furthermore, he disobeys the command given in the verse to use as food selected products of the plant kingdom, the severity of the reaction is thereby increased. One form which this may take is to produce in the human body susceptibility to and suffering from disease.
Thus divine and natural ordinances are given for the well-being of man’s physical body and the purity and stainlessness of his Soul. Departure from these spiritual and physical rules of life may be assumed in large measure to contribute to the sufferings of man. To have dominion over the animals does not mean to exploit and oppress them. Rather does the verse state the relative positions on the ladder of evolution of man and the members of the kingdoms below him.
30. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The first of these two verses further indicates that not only man, but also all creatures, were originally intended to be plant feeders. Departure by man from this ordinance may have its place amongst the factors which changed so radically the face of Nature from the original harmony and harmlessness of the Garden of Eden, the primeval world, to the tragic discordance of the post-Eden period. Indeed, it might almost be permissible to see in the increase, in more modern times, of meat-eating and of cruelty to animals, prima! causes of the steadily mounting human suffering from disease and war.
The completion of the whole work of Creation in six days, is a chronological error. According to occult philosophy the total number of major Manvantaras arid Pralayas, or successive periods of evolutionary activity and of rest, called “days” and “nights” in Genesis, should be seven. This point is further discussed in the commentary on verse two of the Second Chapter of Genesis.
THE SEVENTH DAY
1. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
1. Thus (vav, Heb., “thus rather than and, as in the English R.V.”) the heavens (shamaim, Heb., ‘heavens, plural indicating gradations or degrees of density of matter and expansion of consciousness—many mansions”) and the earth were finished, and all the host (chol-tzebaam, Heb., “the ordered hosts or army of the Lord”) of them.
2. And on the seventh (ha-shebihi, Heb., “seventh, completion, return to a starting point.” No mention is made of a morning and an evening of the seventh day, suggesting that it is less a period than a condition and state of fulfilment, completion, final adjustment and harmonising of discords) day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested (isheboth, Heb., “rested, re-estab- lished, going back to a former state”) on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
The following proffered commentaries on this Chapter of the “Book of Genesis”, which are largely based upon translations of the original Hebrew words and the cosmogony of occult philosophy, are to be regarded as additional to those presented in Part Two, Chapters I and II—”Eden, Eve and the ‘Fall’ of Man” and “Satan and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
In occult cosmogony the completion of the process of objective manifestation or “creation” is achieved only at the end of the seventh cycle (in Genesis called “day”), whether major or minor. The seventh day, the end of the cycle of manifestation, is therefore by no means a day of rest throughout the Cosmos. Rather is it the day of culmination, of highest activity, in which all that was initiated on the first day is brought to its greatest possible development, expression and function within the major time-period, or at the end of the seventh day. The full period occupies seven cycles, not six.
The “day” on which God rested refers to the culmination or exhaustion in the dynamic sense, the completed outworking, of the original creative impulse. The perfect manifestation of original ideation within a given period has by then been achieved. Thereafter the whole impulse to produce dies down, having fulfilled itself, and this dying down and reduction of activity to a minimum, followed by its complete cessation, is thus the true meaning of the words “God rested”.
At the end of the seventh day all Nature sleeps—as in the depth of winter—to awaken no more within the duration of the Major Cycle. Cosmos fades gradually back into Chaos. Substances or elements return to their primordial Source, which is the One Maternal Root Substance, the Eternal Mother from whom all are “born”. Evening descends upon the vast cosmic field, to be followed by that final “night” into which the whole Creation descends. Finiteness disappears. Infinity once more obtains.
The end of the First Chapter of Genesis might more correctly be regarded as descriptive of this close of the sevenfold period of activity, which begins with the first dawn of the first “day” and ends with the close of the seventh and the oncoming of “night”. All is then withdrawn into a latent, germinal condition, there to rest in quiescence until the opening of the succeeding epoch or new “day”. Thereafter the whole process will be repeated but with a greater fullness, since the condition at the beginning of the new cycle will be that which obtained at the end of the preceding one.
THE PATHWAYS OF FORTHGOING AND RETURN
As, when once begun, the swing of a pendulum continues, so the succession of cycles and sub-cycles, once initiated by an impulse arising from within the One Alone, continues according to law as long as that impulse is maintained. When this is no longer given, the swing continues through a decreasing arc until at last the pendulum returns to its preceding motionless state. So, also, does the cycle-governed Cosmos emerge from and return to quiescence, to Chaos, which means root-substance in an equi-polarised state, unchanged and therefore at rest. This is the Abyss, the Great Deep upon which, at the dawn of Manvantara, the Great Breath is again breathed forth to initiate a new period of creative activity.
Gen. 2: 3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
3. And God blessed (ikaddesh, Heb., “hallowed, consecrated, set apart, dedicated to God”) the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made (Vasoth, Heb., “for the purpose of making”).
The third verse may be more literally, if less clearly, translated: “And Elohim blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because in it He returned from all His work, which He, the Elohim, had created in order to make.” The word “Sabbath” means literally “the returning”, and the “seventh day” means the “day of full realisation”. Thus Genesis states that Elohim came forth from the unknown Eternal One in order to make Him manifest, knowable, through the process of Creation. Having finished His creative work, Elohim returned to the divine unity, the universal Sabbath.
4. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
5. And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
4. These are the generations (aelleh tho-ledotli, Heb., “generations to be later described in symbolic language”) of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
The Hebrew word tho, as I have said, is ignored by the translators. It denotes “symbolic” and is of first importance in discovering the true significance of certain verses, Chapters and Books of the Bible.
5. And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man (Adam ain, Heb., “Adam was not, except as a spiritual potentiality”) to till the ground.
6. But there went up a mist (iahleh-ad, Heb., “ascended an emanation”. In the context mist is impossible since the earth was dry) from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
The Second Chapter cf Genesis recapitulates the description of certain of the processes of Creation. The First Chapter, as I have said, describes the emergence of Cosmos from Chaos, form from the eternal Formless, and reveals creative principles which apply not only to the Earth and its Solar System, but to all Cosmoi; for the basic laws of manifestation and the ordered emergence and development of the successive phases and their evolutionary products do not change. Even though those products ascend to ever higher, more spiritual and more powerful manifestations, the underlying laws are the same. The Second Chapter, however, deals with a single unit such as a Solar System, a Planetary Scheme, a Chain, a Round or a Globe within the larger Universe.
In the main, though not entirely, the processes of condensation, solidification to the mineral level, and the successive emergence of plant, animal and man upon this planet, are described. The presence of the seeds of living things in a latent condition is indicated in the fifth verse, and this may be taken to refer to their primary existence in both divine thought and universal pre-cosmic substance.
Gen. 2: 7. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
7. And the LORD God formed (iitzer, Heb., “formed”, not bara, Heb., “created”. “Gave permanent and homogeneous form to Adam as an individual spiritual entity”) man (Adam, Heb., “the spiritual Onebecoming the material Many, the human principle, the essence of humanity.” The first letter of the word Adam, a, denotes anything primal, the first Cause, potential power, Deity. The following letter d, is the sign of multiplication, abundance and the final m, is one of unlimited plurality) of the dust (aphar, Heb., “a verb, present participle—in the act of refining, etherealising, elevating, spiritualising. Dust may be regarded as the refinement of matter, light, airy, easily blown into the air”) of the ground, and breathed (iaphah, Heb., “He breathed”) into his nostrils (aphio, Heb., “inspired the inspirational faculty or living soul”) the breath of life; and man became a living soul (nishemath, Heb., “to elevate, to ennoble, being raised to a higher state, becoming an individual human soul”).
Verse seven in its literal reading is deceptive; for it suggests somewhat the theory of special creation, which runs counter to that of the cyclic emanation, involution and evolution of all beings and all things, both material and spiritual. Esoterically, however, the order of evolution is not incorrect. The First Chapter of Genesis gives the history of the first three Rounds of the present Fourth Chain of Globes, and of the first three races on Earth in the Fourth Round, when man had already attained to conscious life. In the First Chapter—which deals with the earlier Rounds—animals, fishes and birds are correctly placed before man, whilst in the Second Chapter, which continues the story, man rightly is introduced first.
Since evolution is a fact this verse, in both its exoteric and esoteric readings, may be taken to describe the passage of the human Monad through the mineral (dust), the plant and the animal kingdoms (life), to the attainment of self-conscious individuality or “Soulship” (man). The word “dust” as shown above is somewhat misleading, since the original aphar, (Heb.) is the present participle of a verb meaning “the process of refining”. The threefold nature of man—material, psychical and spiritual—is thus described, and especially the fact of his distinguishing characteristic of self-conscious individuality. The breath of life breathed into Adam, the man of dust, is the nascent, reasoning soul which in the animal is instinctual only.
8. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
8. And the LORD God (Elohim, Heb.) planted (itta, Heb., “to set out, to appoint, to give a relatively permanent material form”) a garden (gan, Heb., “enclosure, a marked out sphere of activity in time and space”). It would seem permissible to assume the intention to state that Adam as a spiritual being is placed here by involution in order that he will assume a body of flesh and blood and by evolution become a redeemed man) eastward (m’kedem, Heb., [mistranslated] “from before in time”) in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9. And out of the ground (adamah, Heb., “a spiritual term, unfortunately confused with aretz, Heb., physical earth”) made the LORD God to grow every tree (whetz, Heb., “In addition to tree or wood, substance, counsel, tree perhaps in the garden of divine and human consciousness”) that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge (d-ath, Heb., “knowledge obtained by first hand, personal experience”) of good (tob, Heb., “inner integrity, healthiness, fruitfulness, resisting corruption”) and evil (rah, Heb.—here first used in the Bible—”that which moves away from the spiritual to the material. Physical or moral, malignity, vice, perversity, disorder”).
The two trees planted in Eden can hardly have been material objects growing in material earth. Rather do the words refer to spiritual trees with spiritual qualities—a tree of life and a tree of knowledge of good and evil. More properly they are to be regarded as Archetypes  or models according to which the material Universe emanated and is evolving.
Gen. 2: 10. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
10. And a river (nahar, Heb., “a stream-like movement or current of the life force”) went out of Eden to water (hishekah, Heb., “to make fertile, productive and capable of sustaining life”) the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
The original, outflowing life-force is divided into four individual streams, each with its own characteristics. These are less branches or tributaries than starting points for creative activity occurring in their quarter or region of the Universe. In verse eight the garden is made to be not the garden of Eden, but in Eden—apparently a contradiction. Eden, however, is less a location in the physical world than a sphere of activity, an enclosed state of existence within the realm of universal time and space. In this sense, therefore, no contradiction occurs.
11. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12. And the gold of that land is good, there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
11. The name of the first is Pison (pishon, Heb., “a symbolic name for the all-pervading creative life-force by which the physical universe and its contents come into being and evolve”): that is it which compasseth (sobab, Heb.,”comprises”) the whole land of Havilah (havilah, Heb., “the conditions and means of activity in the physical world including the efforts of man”), where there is gold (sham-ha-tzahab, Heb., “there was gold, the gold was in the work accomplished”);
12. And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
The style and the language of verse twelve differ from those of the rest of the original text, and this has given rise to some doubts as to whether it is an interpolated commentary.
13. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22. And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
13. And the name of the second river is Gihon (gichon, Heb., “force of a chemical instinctive nature”): the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia (Cush, Heb., not Ethiopia but “the whole sphere of human, fiery, impulsive, forceful effort. Ethiopia was sometimes called Cush”).
14. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel (Hiddekel, Heb., “the force produced by human will, thought, desire”): that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates (houa phrath, Heb., not Euphrates but “the power to propagate, generate, be fruitful”). The author is careful to omit the statement that Euphrates is the name of the fourth river whilst having included it in reference to the first three.
15. And the LORD God took [la-kach, Heb., “gave (to the spiritual man, Adam) an inclination, tendency or desire towards activity in the realm of time and space”] the man, and put (innach, Heb., “the feeling of being at home after a period of unsettlement has passed, repose after completion”) him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16. And the LORD God commanded (itzaw, Heb., “advised, forewarned, rather than ordered. Not a threat”) the man, Of every (chol, Heb., “all, entirely, whole, essence”) tree (etz, Heb., “the material or spiritual substance of any object”) of the garden thou mayest freely eat (achol, Heb., “consume, assimilate, absorb, physically, mentally or spiritually”):
17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (moth tamolh, Heb., not physical death as Adam was still a spiritual unity not physically incarnated but “passing into an alternative, complementary or corresponding state”).
18. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; (I’baddo, Heb., “in spiritual unity with all powers latent, non-individualised”); I will make him an help (ezer, Heb., “auxiliary force, support, development of latent faculties, such as an evolutionary impulse towards, the division of the spiritual unity which included male and female into the physical development of separate sexes, male and female.” Spiritually and physically androgyne, Adam, the first physical race on earth, becomes single sexed and capable of reproduction) meet (be-negid-o Heb., “suitable, a reflection of Adam’s being, a means by which his wishes can be realised and made fruitful, an auxiliary faculty by which the spiritual unity of Adam divides into two complementaries, masculine and feminine”) for him.
19. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air; and brought (iahbeh, Heb., “caused to progress by a graduated advance from state to state”) them unto Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called (ikra, Heb., “same root as English word scream; to hail, to cry out, to designate, to evoke, to bestow distinguishing, individualistic qualities and particularities, to individualise as if by naming”) every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep (thareddemah, Heb., “deep trance, torpor, even loss of self-hood”) to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs (achath metz-alothaio, Heb., „ rib, root, meaning that which envelops, covers, protects”), and closed up (issegbr, Heb., “not filling up a gap where the rib had been, but enclosed, built into a complete human form and given life”) the flesh (bashar, Heb., “visible substance, dormant duality becomes actively single sexed”) instead thereof;
22. And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23. And Adam said, This is now (ha phaam, Heb., “actually, really”) bone (etzem, Heb., “substance in general, spiritual, physical, organic “, as if Adam said of the woman “this is of the very spiritual substance of my whole being”) of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she (zoth, Heb., not hoa, Heb., “she, not in reference to a bodily woman but an impersonal pronoun”) shall be called Woman (aisha, Heb., spelt a-sh-h, “the faculty of willing, or freedom to exert individual will power without which the likeness of God or the evolutionary goal of perfection could not be attained”), because she was taken out of Man (aish, Heb., “activity expressing one’s individuality, selfhood; the elemental germ of will is built into an active force”).
For the convenience of the reader the abridged interpretation given in Part Two, Chapter I, entitled “Eden, Eve and the ‘Fall’ of Man” is largely repeated here.
The Book of Genesis now proceeds to describe the formation and the evolution of man, the Second Chapter being partly concerned with the change produced in his physical bcdy by evolutionary processes. As stated earlier the first human form, typified by Adam, was dual-sexed and unconsciously self-reproductive. Throughout that period play of the creative fire within the cells of his body left his nerves and his brain unaffected. Self-fructified, he gave of his kind much as the plant or the tree gives of its fruit.
“MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM”
Gradually, however, as the cycle progressed in which the human form was developed and the masculine-feminine spiritual Soul entered into closer association with that form, a change began to occur. Out of the hitherto androgyne organism the single-sexed, separate man and woman of today developed. Adam (“man”) alone in the Garden of Eden personifies the first sexually innocent humanity, whilst Adam and Eve together typify the first separated men and women. The production of Eve from the side and out of a rib of Adam whilst he slept is an allegorical description of this process.
Chapter Two of the Book of Genesis continues the description of both the psychical condition and the bodily development of primitive man. Androgynous, he was pure. Unconscious of sex, because instinctually self-reproductive, he was innocent of passion. This condition of human purity and this innocence are symbolised by the Garden of Eden itself, the state of the soul before the awakening and activity of consciously exercised procreative power. Eden therefore describes the childhood of the race, and also of every human being up to the stage of puberty.
Expulsion from Eden is an allegory of the passage of every human being through adolescence into adult life. The process, being perfectly natural, involves no sin of either soul or body, whether for the race or for the individual. In terms of consciousness the story describes the pre- creative and the procreative stages of human development. Related to bodily growth the account refers to the evolutionary change from the androgynous to the single-sexed method of reproduction, with the consequent experience of sex desire and the expression of procreative power.
The ideas presented on this subject are chiefly drawn from The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky, which in its turn consists largely of commentaries on an ancient book entitled The Stanzas of Dzyan. Other works of a similar character have also been consulted, and an attempt is here made to offer the resultant concepts. Since these will inevitably be strange and new to many Western readers, and are in themselves rather abstruse, pains have been taken to present them from several points of view. Some repetition has, in consequence, been unavoidable and the indulgence of readers is requested should such repetition be found by them to be excessive.
THE DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN
The orthodox doctrine of the “Fall” of man as a result of the so-called sinning of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) is not in accord with the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom. The “Fall” simply refers to the descent of human Monads into physical bodies and the consequent exercise of the natural procreative power in those bodies. As will be more fully expounded later, in principle no slightest sin was committed by early man— nor has it ever been since then—when the process designed by Nature for the preservation and development of the human species was exercised. Admittedly, the abuse of the function can lead to degradation and disease, but this error cannot justly be attributed to the first men on Earth nor can it be charged against Nature’s processes, which are neither pure nor impure, but impersonal and natural. According to his use of it, man’s procreative power can indeed make him either Godlike or a degraded demon of lust. When transmuted to spiritual and intellectual creativity it makes of him an inspired genius, and later an occult Sage endowed with superhuman capacities. When, however, it is expressed in sexual excesses, it can de-spiritualise and degrade him. In all cases undue sexual expression bedulls and takes the keen edge from the mind-brain of man.
EVE PRODUCED FROM ADAM’S RIB
If the repetition be pardoned, the subject being of such great importance, the formation of Eve from a rib of Adam whilst he slept in the Garden is also entirely allegorical, as earlier references to the original Hebrew indicate. The deep sleep refers to both the nascent mentality and the unawakened, inactive procreative power. Supine and unconscious upon the ground, Adam aptly represents the human race at the first period of the encasement of the Monad in human form. Newly enclosed in dense matter, first man was “of the earth, earthy His task was to accustom himself to imprisonment within relatively inert physical substance and gradually to overcome its resistance. These first human bodies were gigantic, with a minimum of nervous organization and activity. Sluggishly and clumsily they moved through tropical vegetation, impelled only by the desire for food and the instinct for self-preservation. Reproduction was unconscious and passed through both sweat-born and oviporous stages. This condition, and the mental torpor of primitive man, are typified by Adam in deep sleep in the Garden of Eden.
The life-force was present, however, and active within the first physical race of men, even though unrecognised. Very gradually a change, which was both physical and psychical, began to occur. Physically, one sex attribute began to predominate over the other. Psychically, awareness of opposite polarity was experienced, as either the positive or the negative currents in the life-force became predominant in individuals. These two processes brought to an end the androgynous era and culminated in the establishment upon this planet of separate male and female forms. Since these evolved out of racial progenitors who hitherto had contained the attributes of both sexes, the description of the formation of Eve from the side (rib) of Adam is appropriate as an allegory. Hermaphroditism and the presence in the bodies of both sexes of the vestigial remains of the opposite sex support this theory of human evolution.
The reference to the rib of Adam has also been interpreted as an indication that the procedure cf the “descent” of the Monadic Ray into denser and denser forms had culminated in incarnation in solid material bodies, or “coats of skin”. This involved the production by Nature of a supporting bony structure, of which the rib of Adam may be taken as a representation. In occult anthropology this is said to have occurred in the third sub-race of the Third Root Race (the Lemurian) of the Seven Root Races of man.
The reference to Adam’s rib as the basic substance from which Eve was formed is deeply esoteric. One possible interpretation, tentatively advanced, is that the spinal column and a projecting rib together form a right angle or square. This, as also the equal-armed cross, has ever been the symbol of the union of descending, positive, fructifying Spirit (the vertical) entering negative, receptive, gestatory and all-producing matter (the horizontal). All creation occurs as a result of this penetration in the above sense of the horizontal by the vertical and the process is symbolised by both the cross and the square. In the human skeleton the spinal column and each rib form a right angle. Eve, being feminine, is appropriately formed out of the horizontal arm of this “cross”.
Thus interpreted the allegory reveals that, as a result of universal processes, the hitherto combined dual polarity of the life-force was separated into two distinct manifestations. These produced in both the psychical and physical worlds oppositely polarised man and woman. God, as the triune Craftsman by Whom both Adam and Eve were formed, may therefore be regarded as universal Law and Life acting under the direction of universal Intelligence. As we have seen, this last becomes manifest as—and active in—the Hosts of Intelligences, the Elohim, ceaselessly at work throughout the’ whole of Cosmos as builders of forms, directors of consciousness into them, and quickeners of evolutionary development. These builders and their function of inducting the Monads of men into mortal, material bodies are also personified by the “old serpent” the Devil in the Garden of Eden. In occult philosophy they are referred to as “the Satanic Hierarchy”. Satan’s co-partnership with God is suggested by the fact that he, the Devil, is—apart from the Lord God Himself the only recorded visitant to the Garden of Eden before the “Fall”.
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
The Devil in Eden, by whose machinations Eve and then Adam partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, plays so significant a role in the great human drama which the Bible unfolds that a digression from the main theme of this Chapter of the Book of Genesis may usefully be made here.
Who and what, then, is meant by the Devil? In occult philosophy Satan is regarded as a personification of a synthesis of a number of formative forces, processes and Intelligences. The Devil is also a personification of differentiated matter, its inherent life-force, and their combined influence upon human personality. If Spirit and matter be regarded as the positive and negative poles respectively of one energy imbued with intelligence, then their mutual approach will tend to generate electro-magnetic attraction, thus awakening into activity the creative fire in both. Matter leads in this awakening and so may be said to lure Spirit into material self- expression. Allegorically, Eve, symbol of universal substance, both answers to the play of the life-force within her substance (the Devil) and tempts and seduces Adam (Spirit).
THE MONAD “DESCENDS” INTO MATTER
In the case of human Monads, although they are imbued with the formative fire and impulse, the process of the entry of Spirit into matter is far from being purely automatic. Since they are primarily pure, stainless, spiritual beings existing within the life of the Logos, incarnation in matter inevitably involves severe limitations and a loss of complete purity. A deeply esoteric teaching states that Monads shrink from the resultant self-limitation, since from the Monadic point of view the “descent” involves enslavement and degradation. The adoption of individual mentality, incarnation in a physical body with cerebro-spinal system, and the dual experience of the delusion of self-separateness and the influences of repeated sexual impulses, are repellant to the Monad in so far as it is able to conceive of them. For these and doubtless other reasons, Monads are said to hesitate on the threshold of individuality which, with its concomitant illusion of separateness together with the bedulling and clouding effect of incarnation in physical bodies, would most adversely affect purely spiritual beings whose innate consciousness is entirely univer- salised. Admittedly these are all intellectual and purely human reactions which could hardly be expected to reach Dwellers in the Innermost, Sparks within the One Flame. Nevertheless the suggestion is made that in some highly sublimated form the Monads embarking on the pathway of forthgoing are aware of such implications inseparable from that procedure. At the same time, however, Monadic life is drawn towards matter by the operation of the law of polarity, or attraction and repulsion.
The Ageless Wisdom, source of these concepts, also advances the teaching that certain of the hosts of human Monads, thus hesitating to embark upon the great pilgrimage through matter, attempted to resist the universal creative and expansive impulse. This shrinking and this resistance together are said to constitute one of the esoteric and spiritually historical realities behind the allegory of the War in Heaven. It may also be regarded in more general terms as the conflict between Spirit and matter, whether cosmic or microcosmic, universal or human. In man, this struggle only ends when the outer terrestrial nature has been brought into complete conformity with the Spirit within. Every Candidate for the higher Initiations must win—and so end—this war by “slaying” every unspiritual attribute still remaining in the lower nature. Thus St. George—as did so many other heroes of world Mythologies-—slew the dragon whilst the labours of Hercules doubtless possess the same mystical significance.
To sum up, the rebellious angels were none other than the Monads of men who hesitated to surrender their universality and their unstained ascetic purity in obedience to the cosmic evolutionary impulse, process and purpose. Eventually the “rebels” were obliged by that impulse to “descend” into generation. Karmic disability is said to have followed, influencing some of them to become Lords of the Dark Face, rebels against society and scourges of the rest of mankind on this Earth in its Fourth Round. Furthermore, an actual war was waged on Earth in the days of Atlantis when the Lords of the Dark Face, the black magicians and sorcerers, attacked the Adept Guardians of that race.
Whilst all human Monads felt aversion, all did not rebel. Assistance was required, however, in embarking upon the path of forthgoing and in accomplishing descent into the deeper densities of matter. To fepeat, the necessary “allurement” or “temptation” to participate in the vast involutionary and evolutionary activity initiated at creative “dawn” is described in allegory in the account of the temptation of Eve by Satan. Members of the Elohim, full-formed because evolved from preceding cycles of manifestation, undertook this work of induction into mental, emotional and physical bodies. The Devil is a personification of this Order of Intelligences, as also of their functions.
THE SATANIC HIERARCHY
On the completion of its involutionary and evolutionary passage through the sub-human kingdoms the Monad attains one of its primary objectives, which is to become a member of the human kingdom of Nature. This process is referred to in occult philosophy as “individualisation”, and results in the incarnation of a Ray of the Monad within a vesture constructed of matter of that realm of Nature and level of consciousness at which man is able to conceive of abstractions and to comprehend underlying principles and laws. This new-formed individuality is referred to as the human Ego. Such Egohood implies the development of the faculty of self-conscious thought, and self-realisation as a separate entity. As this phase is entered upon, the function of the Elohim consists of the encasement of the Monad in a mental body. As has been observed earlier in this Volume, the resultant acutely separative sense of individuality, or I-am-ness, with its inevitable concomitants of acquisitiveness, pride, egoism and selfishness, is also personified by the Devil.
The work of another Order of the so-called Satanic Hierarchy is to induct the human Monad-Ego into a vehicle of emotion in which sexual desire can be experienced. The process of descent thereafter culminates in incarnation in physical, “dust-formed” bodies through which the sex impulse can achieve self-conscious expression. The universal life-force, the fire of creation, then finds individual manifestation as human love, desire and procreative activity. Satan is thus seen as a composite personification of matter and its resistance to Spirit, a Hierarchy of Intelligences, and certain creative impulses active within mankind.
The serpentine form of the symbol of the Devil is also deeply significant; for the characteristic mode of manifestation and manner of expression of the generative power in both Nature and in man is undulatory or serpentine. This allurement of the Spirit of man from primal innocence to sex experience, and this undulatory current in which the life-force is expressed, are not inaptly described in the allegory of the temptation of Eve and Adam by the serpent in the Garden of Eden and their subsequent “Fall”. As will be noted, this deeply esoteric knowledge could be both incomprehensible and potentially dangerous. Hence, doubtless, its heavy enveiling in such intricate symbology.
Verses twenty-four and twenty-five of this Chapter of Genesis are self-explanatory and therefore do not require any commentary.
THE SERPENT, THE “FALL” AND THE EXPULSION FROM EDEN
1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Tea, hath God said, Te shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Te shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4. And the serpent said unto the woman, Te shall not surely die:
1. Now the serpent (no-hash, Heb., “the activity of the basic element of the human personality, namely selfhood”, symbol of an inward life principle inherent in every human being, the a-moral activity of the self-consciousness of which Adam now becomes aware) was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2. And the woman (aisha, Heb., “the faculty of will possessed by Adam”) said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch (thiggehoo, Heb., “to enter into anything heart and soul.” Adam was not to breathe out his soul into the material substance of the garden) it, lest ye die.
4. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die (moth temuthum, Heb., “pass from the state of immortal spirit into mortal existence”):
The symbol of the serpent, here first introduced into the Bible, is of profound significance, as already stated. The reader is therefore directed to the proffered interpretation in Volume I, Part Three, Chapter I of this work.
5. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10. And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12. And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou has done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shall thou eat all the days of thy life:
15. And I will pul enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
5. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise (I’hashecchil, Heb., “take one onwards towards perfection”), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her (imme-ha, Heb., not another being or a companion but “a quality in the same being. Adam moved by his na-hash, Heb., or desire principle willed to enter into material experience and his intelligent self approves of his action.” The doctrine of original sin is not to be found in Genesis); and he did eat.
7. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked (aroom, Heb., “ aware that their inward light was extinct “); and they sewed (va-ithepherou Heb., not sewed even in a figurative sense but “ to give birth to “) fig (thaeneh, Heb., “ mutual sorrow, plunged into sorrow which is shared or communicated “) leaves (aleh, Heb., a singular word— “ covering, protection, overshadowing “) together and made themselves aprons (hagoroth, Heb., not aprons but “ a fugitive on account of some contention.” Cf. Hagar. Adam and his aisha, Heb., realised their lack of guiding intelligence and were covered with mutual grief and confusion, having cast themselves out from their unity with God and knowing not what to do or where to go. Such is the general meaning of verse seven).
8. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking (not an anthropomorphic Being but the omnipresent Divine Spirit, even the Logos or Voice breathed forth and penetrating to the recesses of the garden or substance of the Universe. A voice can hardly be thought of as walking about!) in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst (be-thoch, Heb., “within”) the trees (etz, Heb., not plural but singular, “organic substance in general”) of the garden (the Spirit of man following the path offorthgoing and “falling” into generation and the physical exercise of the creative power as a single-sexed being is conscious of the privation of spirituality inseparable from this process).
9. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (aicha, Heb., a question mark expressing questioning interest).
10. And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid (va-aira, Heb., “over awed and realising loss of spirituality”), because I was naked (chi-eirovi anochi, Heb., “realised spiritual loss, denudation of spiritual intelligence” and the contrast between himself and the Elohim); and I hid myself.
11. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12. And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled (hishiani, Heb., “excited mental disorder or emotional frenzy”) me, and I did eat.
14. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed (aroor, Heb., not cursing as an act of vengeance but “a description of the natural result of the descent into matter and the physical, single-sexed expression of the serpentine creative force.” The spiritual essence of humanity has been dragged down to the level of the beasts) above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly (gechon, Heb., not physical grovelling but “bent, bowed down, inclined earthwards”) shalt thou go (thalech, Heb., not walk about but “act in a lowly manner”), and dust shalt thou eat (a figurative term like to lick the dust. At the deepest level, the physical, of the pathway of forthgoing Adam feeds on earthy elements) all the days of thy life:
15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed (zera, Heb., “potential fruitfulness. The intellectual and spiritual frustration inseparable from purely physical existence, desire and activity”) and her seed; it shall bruise (ishouph, Heb., “compress or crush”) thy head (resh, Heb., “starting principle”, as in bresheth, Heb., Gen. 1: 1), and thou shalt bruise his heel (akeb, Heb., “impression of heel, footstep, track, consequence of action. The antithesis of the starting principle3 the consequences of its expression”).
This Chapter of Genesis relates allegorically the inevitable defilement of the Monad-Egos resulting from both their immersion in the matter of the worlds below them and the conscious exercise in their physical bodies of their power to procreate.
The final phases of the pathway of forthgoing are therein described. The physical plane has been reached by the divine pilgrim, the densest of man’s seven bodies having been assumed. Bone, flesh, blood and the nervous systems constitute the “tomb” in which spiritual Will, Wisdom and Intelligence respectively are “buried”. The nerves, dull in the savage, sensitized in the saint, are the doorways and windows through which intellect, at first confined, eventually achieves freedom. The term “the LORD God” must here be interpreted to include Nature herself, the involutionary pressure and all the Hosts of Intelligences (Elohim) associated with the forthgoing life-wave bearing its Monadic “seeds” towards physical incarnation. Actually it is these very Agencies which bring about the so-called “Fall” of man. Spiritually regarded, these Intelligences are indeed divine and so are correctly referred to as “the LORD God”. Looked at from below, as forces bringing about the encasement of the human Monad in limiting forms subject to separateness and sensuality, these self-same Agencies can appear devilish, and have therefore been branded as satanic.
THE DEVIL—PERSONIFICATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF MATTER UPON SPIRIT
In this Third Chapter of Genesis the serpent, made prominent, represents more especially the intellectual principle. This is nascent in primitive man, but fully awake in those members of the Elohim who, as we have seen, undertake to bring the Monad into a mental vehicle and introduce it to individualised, self-conscious mental life. Resistance to the command of God, and personal action at variance with that command, refer to the attainment of individualised self-thought and self-will.
The actual tempting power, also symbolised by both the serpent itself and its influence, is threefold. It consists firstly of the felicity experienced by the mind at the temporary union of opposite polarities in man and woman; for this produces in each of the pair an impression of return to the uni-polarised condition characteristic of Monadic consciousness. Secondly, emotional happiness is felt in the expression of love and the fulfilment of desire. Thirdly, the exercise physically of the procreative power induces pleasurable sensation. This three-fold experience—mental, emotional and physical—of the action of the creative fire in Nature and in man is the triple lure which, as said, the Satanic Hierarchy of Ministers of the Solar Logos or “Word” employs to induce human Monad-Egos to enter upon the human phase of existence.
Even though thus assisted the whole process of “descent”, be it remembered, is a perfectly natural one. For a period it does bring suffering, degradation and shame, but it cannot be truthfully described as a tragic “Fall”. This dogma of “original sin” appears to have arisen from texts in both the Old and the New Testaments referred to in the footnote to this page. The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England state the dogma in the following words:
IX. OF ORIGINAL OR BIRTH-SIN
“Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is ingendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, phronema sarkos, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God.
X. OF FREE-WILL
“The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.”
The views thus officially stated are hardly acceptable to the student of occult philosophy; for mis-called “original sin” is rather regarded as an inevitable concomitant of the involutionary process, and not as a deliberately committed wickedness for which every human being has ever since been condemned to be born in sin. The stain will be left behind and the fruitage will be preserved in the form of full knowledge of, and capacity to wield, the mightiest of all the powers in Nature and in man— the divine power to create universes and all that they contain. The pains of apprenticeship must be endured by the Monad-Ego in the personality before the state of the Master Builder can be attained.
Eliphas Levi writes:
“According to the Kabbalists, the true name of Satan is that of Jehovah reversed, for Satan is not a black god but the negation of the Deity. He is the personification of atheism and idolatry. The Devil is not a personality for initiates, but a force created with a good object, though it can be applied to evil: it is really the instrument of liberty”.
The Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, the serpent, the tree, its fruit and the eating thereof can be variously interpreted. The tree of knowledge of good and evil (leaving aside its ten Sephirothal implications) growing in the midst of the Garden, with its fruit—prescribed as food—unlike that of the fruit of all the other trees, is the age-old and universal symbol for the intelligence-imbued life-force of the Universe.
The roots of this divine “tree” arise from within the substance of pre-cosmic Space and draw their sustenance from it. Within every atom of matter of every grade of density, and within every molecular combination, both inorganic and organic, the life-force is present as a component energy. This is symbolised as the sap absorbed by the far-spreading, source-tapping roots of the “tree of life”. It is the atom-forming, universally manifest, creative energy known in occult science as cosmic electricity, primordial Fohat, the primary atomic product of which is the Maha-tattva.
Diagrammatically this tree grows downwards with its roots in the heavens, or pre-cosmic and cosmic Space, Mulaprakriti or Parabrahman. The trunk of the tree represents the same divine generative power focused into an individualised current. In Nature, the Macrocosm, it is the specialised life-force of any unit or sub-unit, such as Solar Systems, Planetary Scheme, Chains, Rounds, Globes, and the kingdoms of Nature with their species, and to each of these there is apportioned an appropriate current of creative life.
In The Secret Wisdom of the Qabalah, pp. 72-73, J.F.C. Fuller writes— and I fully concur:
“To the student of the occult it will be apparent that these two trees (the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life) closely resemble the letter Shin, also the caduceus of Hermes with its central rod and its two entwined serpents, and also the Ida, Pingala, and central Sushumna of Hindu Yoga. The whole scheme is symbolized in the Temple of Solomon, the temple itself being the central pillar, whilst its two pylons, Yakhin and Boaz, the white and the black, the right and the left, represent the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—the eternal complementary forces in life without which nothing can be. This symbolism is an excessively ancient one; thus, in “the Norse Mythology we find the mystic tree Yggdrasil, the roots of which are in the material world and the branches of which reach up to Asgard, the happy dwelling of the gods. Again, amongst the Akkadians, Chaldeans, and Babylonians we find the World Tree, or Tree of Life, which ‘stood mid-way between the Deep and Zikum’—the primordial heaven above. In Hindu mythology there is also a World Tree—the Lingam— and in Buddhist the Bodhi Tree, or Tree of Wisdom under which Buddha sat in meditation.”
THE UNIVERSAL TREE OF LIFE
When the symbol of the tree is used by the allegorists who composed the Scriptures and Mythologies of the world, the serpent is frequently associated with it. The glyph then consists of the tree of life with a serpent or dragon as guardian, as the Argonauts found at Colchis when searching for the Golden Fleece and Hercules in the garden of the Hesperides, where he sought the golden apples.
In Eden the man and the woman complete the representation of the opposite polarities of the electric, fohatic energy. The tree is also a symbol of esoteric wisdom, the assimilation of which (allegorically described as eating the fruit) indeed makes man even as a God. Inversely, the misuse of the resultant power can lead to degradation and, as stated above, this may be one reason for God’s command to the first pair that they should not eat of the fruit of the tree of life. In Kabbalism, the esoteric wisdom or Theosophy of the Hebrews, the tree of life is a composite symbol of the entire Macrocosm and microcosm. When interpreted, this symbol reveals the whole cosmogonical process and also the relationship between the Universe and man. The Ten Sephiroth, or Emanations concerned with phases of involution and evolution, are represented by circles arranged in a geometric design upon the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The Garden of Eden with all its contents is thus susceptible of many interpretations, some of which now receive still further consideration.
In the cosmic sense the Garden of Eden describes the condition of potential fruitfulness and productiveness of the combined primordial Spirit-matter. Eve represents original cosmic substance and Adam primordial creative Spirit, whilst the tree of life symbolises the generative current which passes between this pair. The “Fall” describes the involutionary process, whilst the Deity and the Devil represent Spirit and matter respectively—the converse and obverse sides of Nature when once duality has displayed primeval unity.
THE TREE OF LIFE IN MAN
The trunk of the tree, in the microcosmic sense, is represented by the spinal column and cord. The spreading branches are the afferent and efferent nerves in the body, the flowers being represented by the force centres or chakras in the etheric and superphysical bodies, together with their associated nerve centres and glands in the physical body.
In man the “fruits” of the tree of knowledge of good and evil are at least twofold. As heretofore suggested, they consist of the natural products of the evolutionary process, and also of the capacity of an occultist to use and express the primeval and manifested life principle at any level of consciousness and through any chakra or organ; In Nature the “fruit” represents the varied life-imbued forms which she, with such prodigality, ever continues to produce. Such, in part, is the symbol of the tree.
When man consciously expresses the generative power in procreation, he symbolically partakes of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The statement that he is forbidden tq do so by the Deity on pain of death on the same day—a false prophecy, since this did not occur—may bj regarded as a cover or blind concealing from the profane a deep esoteric wisdom. This concerns the existence, the source, the nature and the uses—lowest and highest—of the creative life-force by mankind.
The terms “death” and “to die” have a particular significance in the Symbolical Language. Death can refer to spiritual deadness, a state of becoming cut off from or dead to spiritual awareness and power. In this sense the words “death” and “die” do not connote the finality ordinarily attributed to physical death, but refer only to a temporary loss of the illumination and the wisdom of the Higher Self. Such a reading is somewhat supported by the fact that sexual excess can produce this mental condition, which will remain as long as the error is continued. If, therefore, the “ruit” of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is in part the power to procreate, and the danger of “death” in the above sense exists because of the de-spiritualising effect of excess, then the word “die” in the third verse of the Third Chapter of Genesis may also be regarded as a veiled reference to the fact that excesses can produce such a deadening result. Similarly, physical blindness can be used to indicate a state of spiritual blindness, and deafness to indicate inability to respond to the directive “Word” from the Logos of the Soul. The “miraculous” healing by the Divine Master of a person suffering from these two afflictions may be interpreted as an interior action of the Christ Principle to restore responsiveness by the brain-mind to the spiritual light and “Voice” of the Inner Self.
THE TRANSMUTATION OF THE SEX FORCE
Adam alone in the Garden of Eden personifies, as we have seen, the passion-free state of the first physical race of men on Earth who were androgynous, and so self-reproductive. This “innocent” condition of the early human race exists in all humanity from the time of birth to the dawn of puberty. The Garden of Eden itself with its totality of created things—plant, animal and human—together with the indwelling Divine Presence, in one interpretation may also be regarded as a symbol of the physical body of man. Adam and Eve would then represent the oppositely polarised, creative energies, whilst the tree of life symbolises the spinal cord and brain.
In terms of out-poured, formative energy, the tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden is thus emblematic of the triple current of the everpresent electrical energy which plays along the centre of the spinal cord, symbolised by the trunk. In procreation that force plays downwards into the generative organs. When sublimated and consciously directed by spiritually awakened man, it flows upwards into the brain and thence onwards to the Solar Source. When by the action of the will this transmutation is successfully achieved, the brain cells and organs become highly sensitised to superphysical forces and states of awareness. This makes possible, in full waking consciousness, realisation of unity with the Source of all life, the very Lord of Life, the Solar Deity.
One of the secrets of Initiation (every Initiate being symbolically “raised” from a figurative death) concerns the process of this redirection and sublimation of the life-force in man, success in which makes him “immortal” and even as a God. Since that mighty power thus transmuted can be used constructively or destructively, the secret of its nature, control and use is closely guarded within the Sanctuaries of the Greater Mysteries. Whenever referred to in literature which will become available to the general public, the knowledge is invariably revealed—and thereby concealed—in an allegorical and symbolical manner, as in the myth of the Garden of Eden. The supposed command of the Lord, “...Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (quite obviously impossible of fulfilment with regard to the human race) in one of its meanings may be regarded as an example of the method by which the secrecy has been preserved.
16. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.
19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return.
20. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of tbe tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23. Therefore (he LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
16. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception (heronach, Heb., “intentions of the will, purposes”); in sorrow (itzebor.cch, Heb., “physical obstacles, difficulties in realising desires and purposes”) thou shalt bring forth (theledi, Heb., “generate, produce, realise, not necessarily limited to the maternal function”) children, (banim, Heb., “productions of mind, body or will, ideas, intentions, children in the sense of giving birth to a work of art”); and thy desire (te shoukathech, Heb., “thy inclination, tendency, attachment”. The text does not convey either domination or compulsion of Eve by Adam, or the inferiority of woman to man and her enslavement to him as part of her punishment) shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the trefe, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18. Thorns also and thistles ‘halt it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve (havah, Heb., “the realisation or materialisation of being or beings”): because she was the mother of all living.
21. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats (che-thanoth, Heb., “giving bodylike forms, envelopes or coatings” to hitherto superphysical beings) of skins, and clothed them (va-ialebbishem, Heb., “enveloped, enfolded the spiritual man in appropriate and expressive bodily form“).
22. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us (mimmennou, Heb., “from us, out of us”. Adam has become individualised for the sake of knowing good and evil. Not a curse or punishment but a provision for preservation and evolution), to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23. Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24. So he drove out (igaresh, Heb., not the forcible banishment of a criminal but “remove, put at a distance.” To put forth as a tree puts forth shoots and blossoms. The further descent of the spiritual Soul of man into physical, single-sexed existence, and out of the innocence or Eden of childhood, through puberty into adolescence) the man; and he placed (va-ishchen, Heb., “cause to be stationed”) at the east (mi-kedem, Heb., “from the eternity that was before time began”) of the garden of Eden Cherubims (cherubim, Heb., “symbolic images and living creatures with the cosmic life-forces, angelic powers at work throughout the universe, associated with the outworking of laws and the forth-going into matter of the human soul”), and a flaming (I a hat, Heb, “that which Hashes out or gleams”) sword (chereb, Heb., “the activity and outgoing life-forces of the cherubim”) which turned every way (ha-mithehap- phecheth, Heb., “whirling ceaselessly on itself, a never- ceasing activity extending in every direction”), to keep (li-shmor, Heb., “to bring about wise and intelligent relationships, guard, protect”) the way (eth-derech, Heb., “every path of life”) of the tree of life.
Except in the case of very important words and proper names, the process of interpolating Hebrew words and their meanings, as suggested by Hebrew scholars, ceases at this point. Interpretations now follow of those verses alone which seem to offer opportunities for useful commentary.
Racial puberty, like individual puberty, causes allegorical expulsion from Eden, which is regained when the pure innocence of childhood becomes the conscious purity of spiritualised man. Between the innocence of Eden and full redemption or Ascension into Adeptship, man passes through a period of bondage in captivity—subservience to materialism, selfishness and sensuality—with which phase the Old Testament is partly concerned.
SERPENT AND TREE—SYMBOLS OF CREATIVE POWER
The tree of life elso symbolises both the creative and inventive capacity of the human intellect and a responsive condition of matter, these being characteristic of an advanced phase of evolution. The life-force active in the human mind, which thus enfired becomes imbued with the generative impulse, is symbolised by the sap of the tree of life. In this interpretation the serpent is the fohatic force itself, and the tree of life is human consciousness and its vehicles in which that force is active. Together they constitute creative power, Macrocosmic and microcosmic. The serpent by itself is emblematic of the undulatory, fohatic, triply polarised formative force in the Cosmos, in a Universe, in all Nature and in every vehicle of man. The tree of life is Spirit-impregnated substance, fructified matter, forming the vehicles of any being at any level from a Logos to an amoeba, charged as that matter is with the universal, propellant, vital force.
When inactive the neutral current by itself—the trunk of the tree— represents the latent divine Presence. When active the positive and negative, serpentine currents of the Serpent Fire are present and in operation. As previously stated, the symbols for this energised condition are the serpent and the tree. Sometimes a single serpent is coiled round the trunk of the tree, whilst at other times two are present, one on either side of the tree.
The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden as punishment for their mis-called “sin” of marital union has still other possible significations. After the exercise of the procreative function not only is innocence or the Edenic condition lost or closed to Adam and Eve (representing mankind), but the life-force itself becomes temporarily inactive. In this sense the first parents are away from Eden as a state of consciousness, whilst for the time being their vehicles are no longer empowered by the fiery force. Symbolically and allegorically they are expelled by God, Who in this case partly represents natural law. The term “God” may also be taken to refer to the Solar Deity, Who is the Source of the Promethean fire which endows Nature and man with generative potency. It is this divine power that sends mankind forth from the Presence of God in Eden, meaning only from the condition of pristine purity, into the evolutionary field for purposes of self-unfoldment and the physical population of a Universe.
In the fourth and successive Chapters of Genesis the children, the grandchildren and subsequent descendants of Adam and Eve may be regarded as personifying successive sub-races of the Lemurian or Third Root Race which, as stated, was the first race of physically embodied men on Earth.
The members of the Order of Angels known as the Cherubim, which were placed at the East of the garden of Eden “to keep the way of the tree of life”, represent a Hierarchy of the Elohim associated with the positive currents of the life-force. As described in the Appendix, kabbalisti- cally the Cherubim are pictured as sphinxes and regarded as Governors of the four elements in their highest sublimation. They would seem to correspond to the Lipika, the Celestial Recorders or “Scribes”, the Agents of Karma of Hinduism. The Hierarchy is concerned with the initiation of the whirling motions by means of which primordial atoms or “holes in space” are formed, presumably using the force which in Tibetan is called Fohat, the essence of cosmic electricity, the ever-present electrical energy and ceaseless formative and destructive power in the Universe, the propelling, vital force, the primum mobile, whose symbol is the svastika. In Kether are thus said to be the “beginnings of the whirls”, the first stirrings of the divine creative Essence. One of the chief duties of the members of this Angelic Hierarchy is to receive this Essence in Kether and carry it to the succeeding Hierarchy, the Auphanim or “Wheels”, associated with the second Sephira.
At the beginning of creation—according to occult philosophy— Fohat, which arises within the central Source of Life, is directed outwards into space upon the involutionary arc. The consciousness of the Monads follows this fohatic path of forthgoing, being carried by a form of electrical induction outwards from the plane of Adi towards the physical world. On arrival there the Lord God, allegorically speaking, made for Adam and Eve coats of skin, which means that Nature and certain Orders of the Elohim produced the physical bodies of men. Those Orders Who direct the process of forthgoing, and control the activity of Fohat, are symbolised by the Cherubim with flaming sword “which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” In this sense Eden is the first plane of the manifested Cosmos, called in Sanskrit Adi. Therein the seeds and potentialities of the whole of the subsequent creation exist from the beginning, and indeed throughout all time. Adi is the plane of the “seeds” (Monads) in their most sublimated state.
Thus the tree of life within Eden, in a limited interpretation, is the life-force in Nature in a state of balance or equipoise. The serpent associated with it represents the twin currents, positive and negative, with the tree trunk as third, by which the triple creative fire is manifest. The fruit of the tree is the subsequent development, the harvest accruing from the activity of the Divine Life within the matter of the Universe, and particularly the fruitage of the great Monadic pilgrimage of forthgoing and return.
Adam represents both man, the Monad, and the first physical man on Earth, who was androgynous Adam and Eve as separated entities represent the later stage of man as Monad-Ego clothed in single-sexed, physical personalities. They are personifications of the human race after its division into men and women. Before this takes place, complete innocence or creative inactivity exists. After the separation, procreation begins. Knowledge is thereby gradually gained. Evolution and experience bring that knowledge and its resultant power to the highest fruition, so that man ultimately becomes a God. Therefore the serpent truthfully said: “…in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
The price to be paid for the development of this deific power is heavy indeed. The Soul of man is encased in matter, wherein he temporarily becomes a prey to the delusion of self-separated individuality, to sex and to the dangers resulting from sexual over-indulgence. Self-degraded as a result, his condition is allegorically described as being condemned by God and driven out of Eden.
CAIN, ABEL, NOAH, THE ARK, THE FLOOD, THE TOWER OF BABEL AND THE GENERATIONS OF SHEM
THE BRAND OF CAIN
Gen. 4. The Birth of Cain and Abel. The murder of Abel. The curse of Cain. Enoch, the first city, built. Lamech and his two wives. Seth and Enos born.
The commentaries on this portion of the Book of Genesis now offered interpret the various stories as allegories of man’s first attainment of full physical awareness and the successive phases and developments which, in the course of evolution, followed thereafter; for such would seem to be both the key to the understanding of these otherwise almost incomprehensible accounts and also the intention of the authors who were revealing such knowledge—then secret—in terms of the Symbolical Language.
The account in the Fourth Chapter of Genesis of the relationships between the Lord God and Cain and Abel, with all that follows therefrom does indeed present grave difficulties. One may ask, for example, why of the two brothers Abel should be the more favoured of the Lord, Who accepted his sacrifice and rejected that of Cain. Since, moreover, this action provoked the jealousy of Cain, who as a result murdered his brother, would not the Lord God necessarily be partially, if not wholly, responsible for the sequence of events which followed the rejection of Cain’s sacrifice?
The episodes being thus unacceptable in their literal form, the idea receives further support that some of the authors of the Pentateuch were spiritually instructed men who used the Symbolical Language as a vehicle for the ideas they wished to convey. The occasional introduction of inconsistencies as part of a concealing veil is referred to by Origen in his De Principiis in the following words, here repeated from the front of this Volume:
“Where the Word found that things done according to the history could be adapted to these mystical senses, he made use of them, concealing from the multitude the deeper meaning; but where in the narrative of the development of supersensual things, there did not follow the performances of those certain events which were already indicated by the mystical meaning, the Scripture interwove in the history the account of some event that did not take place, sometimes what could not have happened: sometimes what could, but did not.”
A famous Rabbi, Moses Maimonedes, Jewish theologian and historian, Talmudist, philosopher and physician (also already quoted) wrote:
“Every time that you find in our books a tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit.”
In pursuance of this method of interpreting the Scriptures, the story of the two brothers is here considered in some detail. It is regarded less as historical and more as allegorical, less as a record of physical events and more as descriptive of processes of evolution and of metaphysical principles, as also of mystical experiences.
If this approach be acceptable, then in conformity with the classical keys of the Sacred Language of Symbols and their use in interpretation— in this case applied to man, the microcosm—Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel may be considered as personifications of the spiritual, the Egoic, the superphysical and the physical parts of man respectively, and the accounts of their mutual relationships as descriptive of the interplay between those constituents of human nature. Adam, for example, being the parent of mankind on Earth, is the first of many successive personifications of the Divine Spark of the Godhead in man, his true Self behind the bodily veil, whilst Eve is its counterpart and expression in the unfolding human individuality, or the spiritual Ego. Of the two brothers who are their sons, Abel (“shepherd”) represents man’s more psychical and intuitional aspects, whilst Cain (“tiller of the soil”) personifies his physical nature.
Applying these concepts, the Fourth Chapter of the Book of Genesis may be regarded as descriptive of both the subsequent development of humanity after its separation into the two sexes, and also of its successive racial branches and human types. Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel a shepherd. If interpreted as personifications of the physical and the intuitional principles respectively, Cain represents the positive potency which uses matter for the building of vehicles of consciousness. This incarnation of man quickens the evolution of the substance of which his bodies are built and thus gradually prepares it to express, and thereby “produce” (in the agricultural sense) with increasing effectiveness his innate and evolving faculties. As such incarnation in and “tilling” of matter is a positive, active process, Cain may properly be regarded as male. Abel, on the other hand, stands for the guarding, collecting, more feminine spiritual principle. As these two aspects art united in every human being, whilst described in Genesis as brothers Cain and Abel might more correctly, perhaps, be referred to as brother and sister.
ADAM, EVE, CAIN AND ABEL
In this microcosmic interpretation, then, Adam personifies the Monadic Ray, Eve the Ego or spiritual Soul in the Causal Body, Cain the physical brain-mind, and Abel the intuitional and emotional principles. Cain, representing the densest and most unspiritual condition, symbolically has his sacrifice rejected—meaning that consciousness, immersed in physical matter and so farthest away from its spiritual Source or the Lord, cannot easily either reach or be reached by that Source. Abel, the psychospiritual nature of man, is more susceptible to divine direction, hence his sacrifice is accepted by the Lord. This interpretation is surely preferable to the literal reading in which the Lord God is—quite unacceptably— presented as being capable of favouritism, which in this case provoked jealousy and led to murder. The difficulty is resolved if, as suggested above, the account is read as an allegorical description of psycho-spiritual conditions in man and their effects upon his ability to experience spiritual awareness. Cain, representing consciousness limited to the physical body, in early phases of evolution is unable to reach and to know the interior divine Presence which is his real Self, the God within. In consequence the spiritual part of man, personified by Abel, is temporarily overwhelmed and rendered inactive by its physical vehicle. Symbolically Cain (body consciousness) slays Abel (spiritual awareness).
The actions of the Lord in cursing Cain and putting an ineffaceable mark or “brand” upon him, even if intended to be protective, are also susceptible of an esoteric reading, sometimes the reverse of the exoteric. The brand upon Cain may be regarded as the effect or imprint of the spiritual Self (personified by Abel) upon the physical principle; for incarnation in the flesh represents a metaphorical murder, and even burial, of the Monad-Ego until evolution over-comes the deadening effect and evolving man re-attains to spiritual awareness. Both the material Universe and the physical body of man, each symbolised by Cain, forever bear, even though invisibly, this “brand” or hallmark of the omnipresent, divine Immanence. Thus, whilst the “brand” upon Cain has come exoterically to be regarded as a sign of shame—the invisible social stigma of a murderer —esoterically the presence of Spirit in matter and of the Soul in the body, of man are implied.
In the Sacred Language, in one interpretation murder is a symbol for the effect of bringing “down” spiritual power and awareness into dense material manifestation. The consciousness, and so the memory, of the divine nature is temporarily lost or “slain” during the descent of both Spirit into matter and the unfolding human Ego into incarnation upon Earth. The murder of the Christ and His burial in the rock tomb are susceptible of the same interpretation, as are all symbolical and figurative deaths in the inspired passages of the world’s Scriptures and Myths.
THE SUCCESSIVE RACES OF MEN
To sum up—pardon being asked for the repetition, deliberate because of the importance of the subject—according to occult philosophy human life on Earth is divided psychologically and ethnologically into seven major Root Race periods, each in turn being subdivided into seven subraces. The spiritual Selves of the first two and a half Root Races were only associated with matter in its more ethereal or tenuous condition. As they proceeded along the path of forthgoing they became clothed in substance of increasing density, eventually reaching in the Third Root Race their point of deepest descent as fully physical human beings. Thereafter the pathway of return was embarked upon, during which both consciousness and vehicles became increasingly less material and more spiritual.
The first men on Earth to be incarnated in bodies with bony structure, as at present, belonged to the Third Root Race. These, however, were androgynous and are personified by Adam alone in the garden of Eden. The separation of the sexes gradually occurred during this Race, the distinct male and female sexes being personified by Adam and Eve together. A natural evolutionary procedure is described by the authors of the Book of Genesis, the Lord God being made to take Eve out of the side of Adam. The allegory constitutes a typical example of the revelation of occult knowledge—at that time regarded as one of the secrets of the Mysteries— under the veil of a narrative of supposedly historical events. In order, however, to preserve and also make available the knowledge, it was thus revealed symbolically, Initiates alone possessing the key. Still deeper truths, knowledge of which can bestow great powers, are also concealed under the allegorical veil. As mankind further evolves cut of its present individualistic and ruthlessly competitive forms of civilisation, and so can safely be entrusted with such knowledge, further keys of interpretation will be made available by the Adept guardians of the Occult Mysteries of this planet.
The Fourth Root Race, still numerically preponderant, has been and still is concerned with the development of self-conscious emotion, whilst the Fifth—the present Aryan peoples—is concerned with the evolution of the mind, concrete and abstract. The Sixth Root Race will unfold the faculties of spiritual intuitiveness and conscious clairvoyance, whilst the Seventh is destined to develop spiritual Will, clairaudience and realisation of oneness with the Source from which at the beginning of manifestation the Monads came forth, and to which at the end they will return.
According to this view of racial evolution, Adam personifies the men of the early third sub-race of the Third Root Race when man’s astro- etheric vehicle became “coated” with organic physical matter, “skin”, and was androgynous. Adam and Eve represent the two single-sexed types of human bodies after the separation of the sexes had occurred, as previously described.
ENOCH—PROTOTYPE OF THE ADEPT
The generations which are stated to have followed Cain and Abel refqr to the principles of both man and Cosmos on the evolutionary arc, culminating in Enoch, which is both a generic title for high Initiates or Adepts (Sages) and a personification of the degree of unfoldment at which the human Ego develops the capacity for abstract thought. This is a most important phase, because the synthesising intelligence makes possible awareness of the innermost spiritual Self, the Divine in man—a mystical experience which can be transmitted to the mind-brain. The Greek word Enoichion means literally the inner eye of the Seer, and is a reference to the so-called third or spiritual eye. Entry upon this stage is referred to in the text in the words: “... then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.”
The evolution of the human mind, with its capacity for both concrete and—later—abstract thought, follows the development of the power of self-conscious emotion and precedes the awakening of the intuitive faculty. Between these two stages Fifth Root Race man achieves mental and Egoic self-awareness, symbolised by Enoch, the first-born of Cain. The higher intellect (Enoch) is thus rightly said to be the fruit (son) of bodily experience (Cain). The latter, therefore, is correctly described as a tiller of the ground (the physical plane and body), whilst Abel was a keeper of sheep. These symbolise the relatively harmless animal propensities and attributes of the emotional vehicle in the early stages of its evolution, while shepherding refers to the protective service which arises from an intuitive realisation of oneness. The shepherding, disciplinary power in man at that period was the unfolding spiritual Self, the Ego, who awakened in the personality protective love, primarily—and often only—for family and tribe. Admittedly members of later races can also exhibit traits which include a noticeable narrowing of the range of their interests and affections. Such people still put themselves and their families first, leaving the rest of the community to take a decidedly second place.
The shepherd in the Fifth and Sixth Root Races is the human Ego when illumined with intuition, who awakens in the personality that compassion which leads to love and service for the whole race. Consequently, when introduced into narratives written in the Sacred Language, shepherds also typify the Members of the Adept Brother-hood, the “just men made perfect”, those great, superhuman Beings who guard and inspire humanity—Shepherds of Souls indeed. The first dawning of such spiritual qualities in primitive man, represented by Abel, is also symbolised in the allegory describing the Lord’s acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice. As previously stated, Cain typifies the physical plane and body in which Spirit is more deeply enmeshed; symbolically his sacrifice was not acceptable.
THE AWAKENING AND DEVELOPMENT OF MIND
The city which Cain built and named after his son Enoch may be regarded as a symbol of the twofold mental principle of man, with Enoch representing the higher or abstract intellect and the city itself the lower or concrete mind. This is in conformity with the use in the Symbolical Language of names to connote qualities. Enoch’s great-great-grandson is another example of this form of symbology; for Lamech had two wives, Adah and Zillah. From Adah was born Jabal, father of the nomad, cattle-raising tribes, and his brother’s name was Jubal, “the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” Again, the development of mind and the progress of the Fifth Root Race are indicated. The wandering, restless, but highly productive analytical mind is indicated by Jabal and the synthesising, prophetic mind by Jubal, father of musicians. The Higher Self of man may indeed be likened to a musical instrument upon which the Monad, as master musician, performs continually and with increasing perfection. Thus, in these pregnant verses of the Fourth Chapter of the Book of Genesis the evolution of both Cosmos and man is described. The truth is, however, deeply veiled by names, words, numbers, symbols and allegories.
Zillah bore unto Lamech the great allegorical figure known as Tubal-cain, described as “an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron”. Since the two metals, brass and iron, are stated to have been associated with Tubal-cain and their symbolical meaning suggested, it is here necessary to introduce the subject of the use of metals in the Sacred Language of Symbols.
According to occult philosophy the whole Universe with all its parts, from the highest plane of Adi to physical Nature, is interlocked, interwoven, to make a single whole, one body, one organism, one life, one consciousness, cyclically evolving under one law. All the “organs” or parts of the Macrocosm, though apparently separated in space and in plane of manifestation, are in fact harmoniously interrelated and interacting. The whole Cosmos, for example, which includes the Zodiac, many Solar Systems, planets, kingdoms of Nature, planes of Nature, elements and Orders of Beings, is a co-ordinated whole. This is because all these parts of the Cosmos, and also their constituents, are in “correspondence”, harmonious interaction or mutual resonance with each other. Kabbalistically stated, what is below is above, what is inside is outside, and everything interacts with everything else.
Certain “organs” or parts are more intimately grouped together than others. They resonate harmoniously with each other like the notes of a chord, sharing a common basic frequency of oscillation. In Occultism they are said to “correspond”. For example, a particular Zodiacal Sign, one planet, an element, a metal, a colour, a principle of man, a chakra, a type of tissue, and a part of the physical body of man will all vibrate on a common frequency. Knowledge of these correspondences provides a key to the understanding of the Universe, of man’s place therein and relationship therewith, and of human development. It is therefore also the key to the solution of many human problems, including those of happiness and unhappiness, health and disease.
A profound, fundamental truth concerning man is that in his spiritual, psychical and physical natures he is a microcosm, a miniature replica or epitome of the whole order of created beings and things, the Macrocosm. Man is thus a model of the totality of Nature. He contains within himself as a potentiality the collective aggregate of all that has ever existed, does at any time exist, and will ever exist throughout the eternity of eternities.
METALS AS SYMBOLS OF PHYSICAL AND SUPERPHYSICAL BODIES
The authors who used the Sacred Language employed this system of correspondences when choosing metals as symbols of parts of human nature. Thus precious metals such as gold and silver are used as emblems of the more spiritual parts of man, whilst brass and iron refer to the material and mortal vehicles of human consciousness. In Chinese symbology, as also in medieval alchemy, the process of refining and transmuting metals in a furnace represents humanity undergoing the purifying trials of life for the purpose of aiding its evolution. Gold, for example, particularly as the product of transmutation, is generally regarded as a symbol of the Christ nature in man, the divine wisdom, in him from which arises his faculty of spiritual intuitiveness. Silver is also a symbol of the natural or mortal man, whilst steel or specially hardened metal, as in spears and swords, refers to the spiritual will, a manifestation of the purest divine Essence (Atma) in him. Copper corresponds to the capacity for abstract thought, a faculty of the synthesising, prophetic intellect. Brass, being an alloy, refers to the blended abstract and concrete minds, whilst iron refers to his emotional nature. Tubal-cain therefore personifies the Inner Self at work on the development and structure of man’s mental and emotional natures. As an instructor of artificers in these two metals, he will also be concerned with the force centres (chakras) and other channels whereby spiritual attributes and activities reach the physical body and are manifested in it, both consciously and subconsciously.
The Fourth Root Race was especially concerned with the development of man’s emotional nature and vehicle. The subtle substances and forces of the mental and emotional planes and bodies were, in consequence, being brought into increasingly intimate relationship with the physical. At the same time the nervous systems—cerebrospinal, sympathetic and para-sympathetic—were gradually being sensitised so that mento-emotional states of consciousness could be more fully expressed in and through the physical body. Tubal-cain may, in consequence, be regarded as represen-ting both these processes as well as the Intelligences (Elohim) participating in the procedure. The Ego, as master craftsman engaged upon this task, is also represented by Tubal-cain, who thus personifies man’s Inner Self occupied with those constructive evolutionary phases which culminate in self-conscious mental and emotional awareness and activity in the physical body.
At the time when the Book of Genesis was written, traditionally by a group of high Initiates of the Akkadian, Chaldean and Egyptian Mysteries, this knowledge was revealed directly to fellow Initiates alone, and publicly only under the heavy veiling of the allegories and symbols of the Sacred Language. Interpreted according to this system, Tubal-cain represents man’s passage from the stage of egoism or I-am-ness—Ahamkara— to ego-less-ness or I-am-all-ness, which in Sixth Root Race man and Fifth Root Race Initiates is one of the results of the attainment of universality of consciousness. This condition is symbolised by Seth, the later spn of Adam and symbol of Sixth Race man. Before this state of consciousness can be developed prematurely in a spiritually advanced individual, figurative “death” (of the separative and prideful, egotistic quality) must occur. This is not achieved without suffering, as is allegorically revealed in accounts of the painful deaths of divine and semi-divine Beings and the Passion of the Lord Christ. Hence, possibly, the lamentation of Lamech in verse twenty-three of the Fourth Chapter of Genesis.
SEVEN A KEY NUMBER
Man’s gradual attainment of self-conscious awareness and mastery in each of his seven vehicles of consciousness, gradually achieved during evolution through the seven Root Races, each with its seven sub-races, is indicated, and even positively affirmed, in the revealing but brief twenty- fourth verse: “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” Indeed, it does seem permissible here to discern a revelation of a profound and widely applicable truth by means of a numerical key—the number seven.
Gen. 2: 26. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
This closing verse of Chapter Four indicates the critical and supremely important stage in his development at which mortal man, hitherto aware only in and of himself as a physical person, attains to the illumination of his immortality; for the Bible states that at the birth of Enos, the son of Seth, “began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” This recognition of and communion with the Lord may be taken to indicate man’s attainment of self-awareness as an immortal, spiritual being.
Microcosmically and mystically the “LORD” referred to in this verse is the human Monad. The use of the number seven in verse twenty- four may refer to the fact that Seventh Root Race man will in his physical body have become aware of his “LORD” (Monad), and will be able to call upon “His” Name, thus drawing upon an interior source of its spiritual influence and power. The divine Presence will then become manifest in the fully regenerated physical, emotional and mental principles, these three by that time being wholly blended into a single instrument of action and awareness.
This culmination of human evolution as far as the present Fourth Round of the Earth Chain is concerned, which is both revealed and concealed in the closing verse of Chapter Four of Genesis, is also achieved by every Initiate in advance of the normal time period. Such attainment is prophetic, in that it foreshadows and portrays the future condition of the whole race. For this reason Initiates in the Greater Mysteries are said to be “born out of due time”.
The teachings of occult philosophy which are concerned with the evolution of both the Immortal Soul and the mortal personality of man reveal an orderly progression. The basic rule is stated to be that the indwelling, conscious life in the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms of Nature advances to the kingdom above during a period of one Chain. Since each Chain is composed of seven Rounds, each Round is expected to be characterised by progress through the subsidiary stages preceding the ultimate attainment for the Chain as a whole. Applied to man, the Monad has evolved Chain by Chain through mineral (First Chain), plant (Second Chain) and animal (Third Chain) into the individualised, self- conscious state characteristic of a human being of the Fourth Chain. This is man’s present position, and by the end of each of the remaining Rounds of this Fourth Chain a certain degree of development will have been attained. These stages chiefly concern the unfoldment of capacity for awareness and effective action—spiritual, intellectual, cultural and physical. Thus occult anthropology presents an orderly and systematic scheme of development for the life in all kingdoms of Nature. 
At the end of the Seventh Root Race of this Fourth Round on Earth, the mass of humanity will have achieved the level now known as Initiateship or spiritual regeneration, referred to as Christ-consciousness, which includes realisation of the unity of life and the resultant compassion for all living beings—hence its name. At the end of the seventh Round the human race now evolving on Earth is expected to achieve the stature of Adeptship or perfected manhood, “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The simplicity of the language and the mastery of anthropological and ethnological facts revealed and yet concealed in this Chapter of Genesis are worthy of the closest study—and I suggest, the admiration—of the student of occult science.
Gen. 5. The genealogy, age and death of the patriarchs, from Adam unto Noah. The godliness and translation of Enoch.
The Fifth Chapter of the Book of Genesis does not appear to lend itself to suggested interpretations verse by verse. In consequence, only the following brief general remarks are offered.
SUCCESSIVE EPOCHS OF MANIFESTATION
Macrocosmically, the nine generations of the descendants of Adam, each named by a male, are a deeply occult recital of the successive minor cycles and their Elohistic Logoi by which a major Cycle is completed. Microcosmically, each generation mentioned in the Bible represents a principle of man, a plane of Nature and a phase of human development, as has already been suggested. The age of each Patriarch is the clue which, together with his place in the succession, will reveal to the student the principles which are being symbolised. A period of manifestation cr Manvantara ends with the entrance of Noah into the Ark. Pralaya—the Flood—then follows. When the Flood subsides a new epoch begins; for the emergence of the preserved created beings, human and sub-human, from the Ark on to dry land refers to the re-emanation of the Monads from the divine consciousness and the aura (Ark) of the Mam (Noah). Their development then continues from the stage of evolution to which they had attained at the close of the preceding cycle.
“THE WATERS OF THE FLOOD WERE UPON THE EARTH”
Gen. 6. The wickedness of the world, which provoketh God’s wrath, and causeth the flood. Noah findeth grace. The order, form, and use of the Ark.
In Chapter Six of the Book of Genesis the merging of the cosmogonical with the historical becomes more marked. The engulfing of Universes and their several component Solar Systems within the waters of space at the end of every Manvantara, major and minor, and the successive floods by which portions of the Earth have been overwhelmed are allegorically merged in the account of the Flood. Whilst the historicity of stories of local floods is not here discounted, the deluge described in the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Chapters of Genesis is also susceptible of interpretation as connoting the periods of relative quiescence of the objective Universe which intervene between those of creative activity. The verses of this Sixth Chapter will shortly be considered individually, but a general interpretation of the chief symbols—already offered in an abridged version—is here repeated with some additions to serve as an introduction to the more detailed examination of the narrative which will follow in due course.
NOAH AND THE ARK
As a permutation of Jehovah, Noah—considered macrocosmically— represents the masculine creative potency. His presence within the Ark— the feminine aspect—indicates that creative union of which all things are the products. Noah may also be regarded as a personification of Chokmah, one of the ten Sephiroth, together with its associated Hierarchy of Archan- gelic and Angelic Hosts included in the kabbalistic Tree of Life. In one aspect this member of the Elohim, is associated with the closing phases of Manvantara, his task being to sum up and sublimate into the highest spiritual essence all the fruits of the period which is coming to an end. The Monads and the essential power, life and consciousness of this epoch are symbolised by the family of Noah and by the pairs of the selected animals and birds. These are preserved within the aura (the Ark) of the Representative and Head of the appropriate Order of the Elohim.
In the Cosmos as a whole this process of conservation of the seeds of living things throughout Pralaya is said to be carried out by an Archangelic Member of the Inner Government of the Solar System. In the case of Chains, Rounds and Globes, however, indications are to be found that this function is performed by a member of the human kingdom of Nature who has attained to a very lofty superhuman stature. Potentialities and seeds are thus preserved in a sublimated state during the period of Pralaya, in which all forms disintegrate and their substance loses its individualised vibratory frequencies, returning to the quiescent, pre-creative state symbolised by the waters in flood legends. Pralaya ended, the appropriate Member of the Elohim, the Seed Manu (Noah), delivers to the corresponding Official of the new cycle the preserved seeds of the preceding epoch which have been in his charge. The great pilgrimage of involution and evolution is then repeated on a higher round of the ascending spiral.
In one sense the rainbow or covenant with the Lord, as described in verse thirteen of Chapter Nine of Genesis, symbolises the Office of the Elohim in bridging two epochs or cycles of manifestation. The return from simplicity to multiplicity, from the white light to the spectrum, from the One to the many, is also implied.
ERROR, OR WISE VEILING OF POWER-BESTOWING KNOWLEDGE?
The suggestion in verses five, six and seven of the Sixth Chapter of Genesis that the Supreme Deity could conceive of an imperfect plan which failed, experience wrath at that failure and then revengefully decide to destroy with insensate cruelty “both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air”, in its literal reading is surely quite unacceptable. The assertion that God could be guilty of such actions and could be moved to make the later promise not to “curse the ground any more for man’s sake” or “again smite any more every thing living”, is either an erroneous attribution to the Deity of conduct of which even man would not be guilty, or else a deliberately constructed blind for the concealment of an underlying truth.
The concept is inconceivable, surely, that there could be in existence a single, extra-cosmic, personal God Who could Himself fail, and then be destructively wrathful at the wicked conduct of a human race which was solely and entirely the product of His own creation. Such a conclusion is strengthened by the divine proclamation that man was created in God’s own image. It is similarly inconceivable that the conjoined Elohim (wrongly translated as “God” in Genesis), which emerge from and constitute the One Alone, could be capable either of error in the planning and fulfilment of their cosmic functions or of wrath at a failure which was solely attributable to themselves.
In the presence of such affronts to human reason, acceptance of the notion of the use of a special category of literature known as the Sacred Language, as previously defined, is surely preferable to total unbelief in such Biblical inconsistencies and errors as a literal reading necessitates. This could lead to the consequent rejection of the Bible as a whole, with its affirmation of the existence of a Supreme Being as the Directive Intelligence in Nature. The great scientist, Dr. Albert Einstein, evidently felt himself to be under no necessity to make this rejection, for he expressed the view that “That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power (italics mine, author) which is revealed in the incomprehensible Universe, forms my idea of God.” Nevertheless the actions attributed to the Deity in the verses under review certainly do not present Him in the guise of a “superior reasoning power”.
Occult philosophy teaches that the objective Universe is ruled by cosmic law and that under this law Pralaya follows Manvantara as inevitably as night follows day, for alternation is a law of manifestation. As already stated, the introduction into an account of Gosmogenesis of a capacity for failure and the attribution to the One Law, and the Elohim who are its Agents, of the gross and unphilosophical vice of violent and destructive anger, are such notable errors that they must surely be regarded as deliberate blinds. Indeed, the presumedly Initiate authors of the inspired portions of Genesis, having already revealed so many sublime truths, would hardly be capable of falling into such a profound mistake. Their complete knowledge, and their skilful use of many components of the entire range of symbols, show them to be highly illumined men. We may therefore regard as fraudulent interpolations, inaccurate translations or deliberate blinds, the suggestion of the visitation of the wrath of God upon Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and later upon the children of men and all living creatures of the succeeding—the Noahian—cycle of manifestation.
The “bow in the cloud’’—the rainbow displaying the seven colours of the spectrum—underscores this interpretation; for the illuminated clouds may be taken to represent the Root Substance into which the positive, creative potency “descends”, changing it from pre-cosmic, virgin (white) matter into its seven gradations of density, thereby preparing it to serve as the field of evolution for the seven kingdoms of Nature. The analogy of the rainbow, produced by the splitting up of white light into the seven colours of the spectrum, aptly presents this idea. In addition, the stretching of a bow across the heavens represents the linking together or bridging of successive cycles, an interpretation seemingly indicated by the Lord’s description of the bow as “a covenant”. Furthermore, the speech of the Lord to Noah, giving comfort and command, may refer to the uttered creatiVe “Voice”—the formation of the Universe by sound— implied by the Logos doctrine.
If the account be applied to the physical evolution of the human race on Earth, Noah represents the Manu of one of the seven Root Races, an Official in the Hierarchy of the Adepts who is largely responsible for the evolution of a Root Race with its seven sub-races. As will be later expounded, a further function of this Official is to select certain of the more advanced members of the Race under his direction who are to be employed as the physical progenitors of its successor. These are then segregated, their descendants in due course being inspired to emigrate to the country chosen to be the birthplace of a new racial type.
“THE WATERS PREVAILED EXCEEDINGLY UPON THE EARTH”
The following two paragraphs appear in somewhat the same form in the abridged interpretation of the story of the Ark in Part One, Chapter Four.
According to occu’t philosophy the Flood, its various symbolical meanings apart, was an historical fact. The continent of Atlantis and millions of the bodies of its inhabitants, human and sub-human, are said to have been drowned in four great Floods. Thus, historically regarded, the Flood recorded in Genesis was the fourth and culminating cataclysm.
The Souls, psychical and spiritual, of the Atlanteans were thereby saved from the deeper degradation into which, as practitioners of sorcery and black magic, they were in great danger of sinking. Indeed, very large numbers of the Atlantean peoples did fall into those errors. These are taken by some students of occultism to be the wickedness erroneously referred to as provoking the wrath of the Lord. Members of the Occult Hierarchy of Adepts on Earth are, however, no more capable of wrath than are the Elohim of the Universe. Danger to the evolving Souls of men arising from imperfect control of their personalities, which were engaging in deeply degrading black magical practices, alone necessitated occult intervention by the Adept Hierarchy cf this planet.
In terms of the sevenfold constitution of man and his successive reincarnations the Ark itself may be interpreted as the Auric Envelope, and more especially the radiance of the body of light severally referred to as the Augaides (Gr.), the Robe of Glory (Gnostic) and the Causal Body. This particular vehicle of consciousness both contains and preserves the fruits harvested from each life-cycle or incarnation. In addition, it functions as a vesture for the threefold spiritual Self of man—divine Will, Wisdom and Intelligence. The inhabitants of the Ark, human and subhuman, typify both the fruits of the evolutionary process and the indwelling triune Spirit, and the three storeys refer to the three levels of divine consciousness of the triple Self.
THE FLOOD NARRATIVE AS ALLEGORY OF THE HUMAN LIFE CYCLE
Whilst the student of symbology must ever be on guard against reading into an allegory and its component symbols more than was originally intended or may be justly attributed, descriptions of levels and conditions of human consciousness after the death of the body, with which event the physical part of the life cycle of man is ended, may possibly be discerned in the narrative. Occult science teaches that, having lost its physical instrument by death, the Inner Self of man is thereafter conscious in the emotional world for a time, during which karma generated at that level may be precipitated. This phase is followed by the detachment and disintegration of the substance of the desire nature, after which the Ego is aware in the mental principle. This period-—a heaven-like state of happiness consequent upon inability to experience desire—in its turn draws to a close, the Soul being then clothed in its vesture of light, the Causal Body, storehouse of the capacities attained during the life cycle just closed and for the development and expression of the faculty of abstract thought.
If the Flood story be interpreted as an allegorical description of this human experience, a certain fitness may be observed. Water, for example, is used as a symbol of both primordial substance or space and the emotional life of man. The deluge itself might thus be interpreted as the “precipitation” upon the individual, during the first post mortem period, of such adversities as were generated during the preceding life. Thus applied to procedures and human experiences immediately after the death of one physical body and rebirth into its successor, the cessation of the rain would symbolise entry into the mental phase of the life after death, whilst the summit of Mount Ararat would represent the purely spiritual condition of Egoic consciousness into which the reincarnating Ray of the Inner Self then withdraws. Emergence on to level ground after descent from the summit represents birth in a new form, with the rainbow as the Egoic bridge or link between two lives. The Causal Body, which is the vehicle of the Ego, is iridescent with all the colours of the spectrum and, being immortal, is also the promise of assurance of safe passage from one cycle to the next. This vesture is therefore also well described as God’s covenant with man, since it constitutes the essential link between the spiritual, immortal Self and the more material and decisively mortal personality.
From this preparatory study of the account of the Flood, with consideration given in advance to some of the chief symbols employed, a more detailed interpretation of the narrative is now undertaken. The Sixth Chapter of Genesis, with its references to communion and union between the sons of God and the daughters of men—a profoundly occult allegory—will now be examined.
“...THE WICKEDNESS OF MAN WAS GREAT IN THE EARTH”
Gen. 6. The wickedness of the world, which provoketh God’s wrath, and causeth the flood. Noah findeth grace. The order, form, and use of the Ark.
This Chapter is one of the most wonderful in the Old Testament. So far as the wickedness of early man and the occurrence of a flood are concerned—the affirmed wrath of God is elsewhere considered—historically it is correct for, according to occult ethnology, during the Atlantean or Fourth Race period sin did indeed fall upon the Earth. As we have seen, the Atlanteans were guilty of most grievous wickedness—sorcery and other gross forms of the misuse of psychic forces—the only remedy for which was the destruction of their physical bodies. This was brought about by a succession of floods, four in number, the last of these finally engulfing the Atlantean continent. Certain mountain ranges and peaks have, however, remained above the waters, as evidenced by the various Archipelagos and Islands of the Atlantic Ocean.
A NEW RACE IS FOUNDED
Before the great floods began the Manu, personified by Noah, began to draw together those tribes and individuals who were to be the progenitors of the next Root Race. They were taken to places of safety, one of which was in Arabia and another on the shores of the then existing Gobi Sea. There through hundreds of thousands of years, symbolised by the period within the Ark, the race with its inherent faculties—represented by the human, animal and bird dwellers in the Ark—underwent specialised development. Then, when the time was ripe, the descendants of these specially selected people were liberated from their Arabian and Central Asian homes and charged with the task of settling and populating the chosen countries with the newly established types. Thus arose the first beginnings of the sub-races of the Fifth Root Race. Such, according to occult science and very briefly stated, are some of the chief historical events recorded partly in plain language and partly in allegory in the Sixth Chapter of Genesis.
MOUNT ARARAT—SYMBOL OF THE EVOLUTIONARY HEIGHTS
The more advanced phases of the spiritual evolution of humanity to be entered upon during later racial periods are, however, also indicated and with the greatest skill the two accounts are successfully intermingled. In this latter interpretation—the spiritual evolution of man—the process is described of the transmutation of the baser human attributes (the animals) into the fine gold of the nobler qualities of man’s Higher Self (Noah and his family in the Ark). This was accompanied by the sublimation of the force behind the grosser, animal passions from its physical (the surface of the Earth) to its mental and spiritual expressions (Mt. Ararat).
The Ark, as symbol of the vehicle of the human Spirit, the Causal Body, is rightly described as having been built by Noah (the Ego) under the direction of the Lord (the Monad). By means of both natural evolution and deliberate self-quickening on “The way of holiness”, the power, the capacities and the attributes of the lower, mortal man were being raised or sublimated to spiritual levels of expression. Simply put, human consciousness—which had hitherto been largely limited to the physical world—was being elevated towards the Egoic level.
THE WINDOW, THE RAVEN AND THE DOVE
The existence of the window in the Ark from which, as later described, the raven (the formal intellect) and the dove (the intuition) went forth, portrays the fact that the spiritual Self or Ego of man in its turn is open to supra-mental states of consciousness (the upper air). The window itself indicates that the Ego in the Causal Body always has a means of access to the more lofty spiritual levels of awareness.
The failure of the raven to return indicates that the concrete mind alone cannot receive and reveal full spiritual illumination. This interpretation is supported by the return of the dove with the olive leaf, indicating that the intuition is able to convey illumination because of its oneness with universal life, typified by the olive tree from which the leaf had been plucked. Flight through the air also aptly portrays by allegory the supra- mental realms from which the intuition flashes into the otherwise darkened mind. The element of air is frequently used in the Sacred Language of Symbols to represent the level of consciousness in which the intuitive faculty inheres and from which it is derived. A similar use of the dove to symbolise spiritual influences and states of awareness is found in the descriptions of the baptism of Jesus in Jordan as given in the three synoptic Gospels. It is recorded that “... the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.”
From these considerations of the story of the Flood a return is now made to the beginning of the Sixth Chapter of the Book of Genesis. The references to the deluge itself, Noah, the Ark, the raven and the dove were here included in advance of their correct textual sequence in order to present a general intepretation of the event as recorded in the Bible.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
In the microcosmic reading the sons of God are the human Monads, whilst the daughters of men represent the personal consciousness of late Third and early Fourth Root Race men. Up to that time humanity as a whole had been unillumined by any spiritual awareness, being conscious only at psycho-physical levels. At the stage of evolution which had then been reached, a further development occurred which consisted of a descent of Monadic influence. In this sense the Monads (the sons of God) “married” the personalities (the daughters of men) and the product was mental—and later Egoic—consciousness. Thus the triplicity of
Monad-Ego-personality was completed, the flesh having then become the vehicle of the Spirit.
In another possible interpretation the sons of God are the Angelic Teachers of the first wholly physical race of men with bony structure (the third numerically). In yet another view they are the Pitris or “ancestors”, advanced products of preceding Schemes of evolution who, together with the Elohim, constructed the forms of superphysical Nature. These Beings fashioned the first gigantic physical bodies and inducted human consciousness into them.
Gen. 6: 3. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
The threefold nature of man, and the ultimate subservience of his material nature to his spiritual Self, are indirectly indicated in this verse. The stated life period of one hundred and twenty years might indicate that early physical man lived to that age. By numerical integration the number one hundred and twenty becomes three, and this may also imply the first establishment in man of physical, emotional and mental vehicles of consciousness through which the Monadic Ray, itself triple, could be expressed.
Gen. 6: 4. There were giants in these days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
In this verse the mystical and the historical are interwoven. Mystically, the Monad-Egos (the sons of God) mingled with the personalities (the daughters of men), which means that they found growing expression in and through them. Historically, the physical bodies of primitive men were gigantic, being at least twice the size of those of Fifth Race man. In addition, the Adept Tutors of the race lived physically amongst mankind and directed them. These were the men of renown, the so-called divine Teachers and Kings of pre-historic periods, giants of intellectual and spiritual power.
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
The process of the incarnation of purely spiritual and immortal Monads—themselves ever unstained and unstainable—into mortal, material, physical personalities involves a measure of temporary degradation for the manifested Race of the Monads. The reference to man’s great wickedness is thus allegorical, being actually descriptive of the inevitable staining of pure Spirit by the intimate contact (marriage) of Monads (sons of God) with the desire-charged matter of human physical bodies (daughters of men). The sin referred to is also descriptive of certain experiences associated with the exercise by man of his generative powers.
An allegorical interpretation is further supported by the fact that, as has been previously stated, no sin whatever is involved in the normal exercise by man of the procreative power for the production of children and the continuance of the race. In its literal sense, the idea is entirely unacceptable that the Creator of those human beings who exercised a power with which they had been divinely endowed were guilty of wickedness. The further statement that this completely innocent action evoked the wrath of God, and led to His vengeful act of total destruction, with the exception of the inhabitants of the Ark, is also an affront to the intellect. If by the Lord God of the Book of Genesis is implied the Supreme Deity, the one ConCeiver, Fashioner, Preserver and Transformer of Universes as a whole, then “He” must be assumed to be endowed with the attribute of omniscience. This power would include complete foreknowledge— even in transcendence of the restrictions of time—so that in the consciousness of such a Being full awareness of the total product of His “creation” from beginning to end must be presumed to have been present. If this be so, then the Lord God would from the outset have been fully aware of every forthcoming event and, in consequence, could in no sense have been surprised or aggrieved by any action of His sons whom He had created in His own image. Once again, therefore, acceptance of the literal reading of this, as of so many other passages, becomes an impossibility.
The statement that God repented of having created man must either be rejected or regarded as a blind to enveil knowledge of the deeply occult process of involution, partly described in allegory by the Christ in His parable of the Prodigal Son. The “descent” of the Ray of the human Monad from the realm of pure Spirit, through the intervening planes into physical incarnation, is also implied. The stories of the salvation of Noah and his family, of the raising of Joseph from the pit and his ultimate attainment of high office under Pharoah, of the liberation by Moses of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, of their eventual arrival under Joshua at the Promised Land, and of the spiritual salvation of all men by the Redeemer—all these both veil and reveal the process of evolution, or the returning ascent of the Monadic Ray to the purely spiritual state.
God, whether as Law or as the Source, Emanator and Director of the creative impulse in Nature, neither rejoices nor repents. Completely impersonal, the creative Power and its Archangelic and Angelic Intelligences (.Elchim) skilfully operate the vast cosmic machinery throughout alternating Manvantaras and Pralayas, the former with their innumerable sub-cycles of forthgoing and return. As suggested above, the attribution of human limitation to the Deity is to be regarded as either complete error or part of the veil of allegory which must be drawn aside if the concealed spiritual verities are to become known, just as the veil of matter must similarly be removed from the eyes and minds of men if full realisation of spiritual truth is to be attained.
“BUT NOAH FOUND GRACE IN THE EYES OF THE LORD”
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
In one meaning as we have seen, Noah is a personification of the holder of an Office (Manu) in the Spiritual Government of Solar Systems, Chains, Rounds, planets and races. Noah more particularly represents the Root and Seed Manus, whose vocation it is to absorb and preserve within their auras (arks) during Pralayas (flood) the seeds of living things and the Monads of men. These they deliver to their successors at the opening of the next Manvantara (post-diluvian dispensation).
In the mystical interpretation Noah represents the Monad-illumined Ego which, though limited and even stained in its mortal manifestation in the physical body, nevertheless in its own essential nature remains unstainable and unstained. Thus “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” and “was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” In this interior sense the term “God” refers to the human Monad, of which the Ego is a product and with which it is ever at one. The three sons of Noah personify man’s mental, emotional and physical bodies, their wives representing the expressed powders and attributes thereof—in Sanskrit shaktis. Noah and his family thus stand for the whole nature of man.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Historically these verses refer to the degradation or corruption into which early Fourth Root Race men fell. The maximum materialism which occurs during all fourth phase manifestations, when compared with the spirituality typical of both earlier and later cpochs, is also indicated. The fourth phase of a sevenfold cycle of forthgoing and return represents both the deepest level of descent and the beginning of ascent. It is marked by the maximum “degradation” of Spirit produced by embodiment in densest matter, and a life and consciousness by incarnation in mortal vehicles. Here it may be repeated that according to occult philosophy the corruption of the Atlantean (Fourth Root Race) people was an historical fact, as also was the destruction by drowning of great numbers of physical bodies. The flood legends of the Scriptures of other ancient civilisations are also partly based upon these events.
Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall thou make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch.
And this is the fashion which thou shall make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
THE SYMBOL OF THE ARK
Regarded as a symbol, the ark is susceptible of numerous interpretations. In general as observed, it is any vehicle of consciousness, whether of Cosmos, Solar System, sun, planet, race or individual. The arks and ships of the Allegorical Language employed by the Initiates of the Mystery Schools of early civilisations all refer to containing vehicles of consciousness of whatever dimensions and at whatever level, including cosmic matter when formed into Universes, as also the Spiritual or Causal Body of man, his Auric Envelope, the animal and human wombs, the enclosing membrane of a cell and the “wall” of an atom.
The outer hull is the “Ring-pass-not” of Universes, the Auric Envelope of man and the skin of his physical body. The inner lining, symbolised by pitch, is the hardened, protective substance which forms at the edge of the sphere of manifestation, enclosing the creative forces with their distinctive frequencies of oscillation. As pitch keeps out water, so do these vibrating energies render impossible any intrusion from the sea of space outside by forces and Intelligences foreign to those within. The division of Noah’s Ark into rooms describes the establishment of the various planes of Nature in the Cosmos, the vehicles of consciousness in man, the constituent parts of the embryo and the cell, and the differently charged particles of the chemical atom.
THE DIMENSIONS OF THE ARK
The number of cubits in each direction, namely three hundred in length, fifty in breadth and thirty in height, may be regarded as referring to cycles and phases of development. In this sense the three hundred cubits in length may indicate the plant kingdom of Nature, for that number reduced becomes three and plants consist of three principles, namely the physical form, the vital force and the dawning sensitivity or feeling. The stated breadth of fifty cubits, which by reduction is five, refers to the animal kingdom wherein exists the potential development of a fifth principle, the Higher Manas, which will bestow separated individuality or Ego-hood. The thirty cubits in height similarly gives three and thus designates man who, whilst including all preceding development, is in two senses a threefold being; for the Inner Self is triple, a trinity in the likeness of its Creator, whilst the total man, as distinct from the members of all the sub-human kingdoms, consists of highest Spirit (Monad) and lowest matter (physical body) united by intellect.
Noah (the Monad-Ego), his wife (the Causal Body), and Shem, Ham and Japheth (the three vehicles of the personality—mental, emotional and physical) personify the component principles of man. The Noah’s Ark symbol with its carefully indicated dimensions, structure and inhabitants, thus accurately represents man himself at his present evolutionary position on this planet. The Flood narrative is also of universal significance; for it applies equally to the planet Earth, to its Fourth Root Race, and to the Fourth Round of the Fourth Chain of our Planetary Scheme. Since it portrays a basic creative principle, the allegory must apply to all Schemes, Solar Systems and Cosmoi.
The window of the Ark, placed in its upper portion, points to the fact that man’s faculty of abstract thought, which is a function of the Ego in the Causal Body (the Ark), constitutes a window or opening to metaphysical states of consciousness. In the physical body the “window” is the anterior fontanelle, and in the etheric and superphysical bodies it represents the Brahmarandhra (Crown) chakras or force-centres.
The oft-used symbol of the door is susceptible of at least two meanings. In one it represents the possibility of an entrance into the mind of power, light and inspiration from supra-mental levels. In this sense the door symbolises a means of access for spiritualising influences through the abstract to the concrete mind. Such influences are sometimes in their turn personified by a Great Teacher. Jesus would appear to use the symbol in this sense in His words: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” In another meaning the door is a symbol of the possibility of an entrance into the mind of certain forces and predilections from lower levels, particularly those of the emotional and purely physical parts of human nature.
But with, thee I will establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
These verses, despite their brevity, describe long continued processes of evolution in which during preceeding races, planets. Rounds and Chains the four kingdoms of Nature had become established on the Earth. By the time the present fourth Chain had been reached, adequate vehicles of consciousness (arks) for each kingdom had been developed, In the interpretation of Noah as Maim the Flood refers, as we have seen, to the period between cycles of manifestation.
THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE FLOOD LEGEND
The Flood legend also appears in the Assyrian Tablets, the Hindu Scriptures, Greek mythology and the so-called Troano Manuscript of the Mayans. The Chaldeo-Babylonian Tablets describe a flood as having lasted for “six days and nights (during which), the wind, deluge and storms overwhelmed (the Earth). On the seventh day in the course was calmed the storm and all the deluge which had destroyed like an earthquake, quieted. The sea he caused to dry, and the wind and deluge ended...”
In the Hindu version found in the Mahabharata, the Purdnas and the Brahamanas, Vaivasvata, the Hindu Noah, saved a little fish which proved to be an Avatar (descent or manifestation on Earth) of Vishnu, the Second Aspect of the Trimurti. The fish warned him that the Globe was about to be submerged and that all that inhabited it must perish. It ordered him to construct a vessel in which he was to embark with his family. When the ship was ready and Vaivasvata had entered it with his family, together with pairs of all animals and the seeds of plants, the rain began to fall. The fish, now become gigantic and having developed a horn to which the Manu tied the ship, guided it through the raging elements— and when they were calmed landed it on the summit of the Himalayas.
In Greek mythology when Zeus had resolved to destroy mankind, which had become degenerate, Deucalion, the Greek Noah, and his wife Pyrrha were on account of their piety the only mortals to be saved. Deucalion built a ship in which he and his wife floated to safety during the nine days of flood which destroyed all the other inhabitants of Hellas. At last the ship rested on Mount Parnassus in Phocis. Thereafter, by very strange magical actions, the human race was restored.
The Troana Manuscript, which appears to have been written about 2,500 years ago among the Mayans of Yucatan and has been translated by Le Plongcon, gives the following description of the submergence of a continent in the Atlantic, presumably the Poseidonis referred to by Plato:
“In the year of 6 Kan, on the 11th Muluc in the Zac, there occurred terrible earthquakes, which continued without interruption until the 13th Chuen. The country of the hills was covered by mud, the land of Mu was sacrificed; being twice upheaved it suddenly disappeared during the night, the basin being continually shaken by volcanic forces. Being confined, these caused the land to sink and to rise several times and in various places. At last the surface gave way and ten countries were torn asunder and scattered. Unable to stand the force of the convulsions, they sank with 64,000,000 of their inhabitants 8,060 years before the writing of this book.”
In a later find of an ancient Mayan manuscript known as The Book of Chilam Balam, discovered by A. M. Bolic, a flood is referred to thus: “and then in one watery blow, came the waters... the sky fell down and the dry land sank.”
Flood narratives, in addition to their historical bases, are also susceptible of the interpretation applied to the Biblical account of the Noachian deluge. As heretofore advanced, the uniformity and universality of these and many other legends, myths and allegories characteristic of such remnants of the literature of ancient peoples as are preserved, may be regarded as indicating both a single source of all of them and a similar system of symbology. Occult philosophy affirms that source to be the Hierarchy of Adept Sages, still existent on Earth, the “just men made perfect.” The similarity of the symbols employed to denote the same ideas is explained by the use of the Language of Allegory and Symbol in which world Scriptures and Mythologies have been written.
THE ARK ENTERED AND THE RAVEN AND DOVE RELEASED
Gen. 7: Noah, with his family, and the living creatures, enter the ark.
The beginning, increase, and continuance of the flood. All flesh destroyed.
And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
The mention of the seven pairs of clean beasts and of the fowls of the air may refer to the numerous septenates throughout all Nature, physical and superphysical. Amongst these are the deeply occult classifications known as the Seven Rays into which all created things are divisible. The seven Sephiroth, also named the Seven Mighty Spirits before the Throne, the Elohim or primary Agents of the one creative Will, are as seven gateways through which the Monad-bearing life-wave passes on its way out—in terms of the physical three dimensions only—from the one Source into the field of evolution. In consequence, the currents of that life and every Monad carried with them receive the impress of the quality of that One of the Seven Sephiroth through which they pass. This fact is presumably referred to by the Lord in His instructions to Noah concerning the selection of the types to enter the Ark. It was essential that the animal representative of each of the Seven Rays should be present, preserved throughout the Flood (period of creative quiescence), and thereafter released in order to ensure the perpetuation of each main Ray type in the animal kingdom.
From the point of view of the unity of the one life present in and evolving through all beings, the classification of the animals as clean and unclean would seem to be artificial and erroneous. All such creations are “clean” in the sense that they are vehicles for unfolding consciousness and evolving life. The Jews, however, following very old traditions, had designated certain animals as unclean. Such division was doubtless based on the fact that some beasts are earth-eaters, and even dung-eaters, and this includes the whole of the porcine tribe. Their flesh was forbidden because their diet was presumed to render it unfit for consumption. The classification is also hygienic. The flesh of such animals is more likely to contain poisons and dangerous bacteria, the absorption of which into the human body could generate conditions favourable to disease.
The fact that all animals, whether supposedly clean or unclean, were ordered to be taken into the Ark demonstrates that all were valued by the Lord. This implies that Nature herself and Her creative Intelligences, from the lowest to the highest, regard both categories of creatures as included within the plan of evolution. The Jews, however, especially those outside the old original Sanctuaries of Chaldea, desired to give to the so-called unclean beasts less value than the so-called clean animals. Habit and human hygiene were most probably the chief deciding factors when once the original instructions to partake of a vegetarian diet were disregarded.
Gen. 7: 6. And Noah was six hundred years old when, the flood of waters was upon the earth.
The six hundred years of the age of Noah (by reduction six) may indicate the approaching end of both a second ternary and a sevenfold period of manifestation—the close of Manvantara. If so, this would support a dual reading of the allegory—terrestrial and cosmic. The various time periods referred to in the remainder of this Seventh Chapter of the Book of Genesis may thus have a chronological significance applicable to the major and minor cycles of activity and quiescence. Since, however, full consideration has already been given to this subject in preceding Chapters, in order to avoid undue repetition I have decided to resume proffered interpretations of the narrative of the Flood from the beginning of the Eighth Chapter of Genesis.
Gen. 8: 1. And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged.
In Chapter Eight of Genesis the symbolism of numbers is also largely employed. In the purely human sense the subsiding of the Flood, the emergence of the occupants from the Ark and the beginning of the postdiluvian era have two possible significations. One of these refers to the beginning, at birth, of a new reincarnation of the Inner Self, whilst entry upon “The way of holiness”—a spiritual rebirth—is also allegorically described. In addition, racial, planetary and supra-planetary Manvantaric dawns are referred to, these microcosmic and Macrocosmic phases of existence being intimately related.
In this first verse the statement that “God remembered Noah” may allude to the fact that each new manifestation, whether of a single life or of a Cosmos, is a repetition of its predecessor but at a higher level. The contents of the new dispensation—the Monads and the harvested fruits of evolution in all the kingdoms of Nature—are always the same, but their condition is different. Each Monad begins the new cycle at that point to which it had previously attained and continues to advance therefrom; for the ascent of Spirit, life and consciousness through a succession of Manvantaras and Pralayas follows a circular path, each cycle closing at a point higher than that at which it began. Occult philosophy thus teaches that the path followed by cosmic life is not a circle, but a series of rounds in an ascending spiral.
The words “God remembered” are of especial interest, for the occult teaching is that the Solar Creative Deity does not initiate and bring into existence an entirely new creation. At the dawn of every cycle there emerges or is transmitted from Universal Intelligence the “memory” or record of the attainments of its predecessor. Thus the Eighth Chapter, allegorically considered, rightly opens with the statement that “God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark.”
THE GREAT BREATH BREATHED UPON THE GREAT DEEP
The first creative act is described in the latter part of this first verse in the words: “...God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged.” Just as in the second verse of the First Chapter of Genesis “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” and then God spake, so now at the opening of a later cycle God made a wind (the Divine Breath) to pass over the Earth, which is said to have been entirely covered by water. This breath or “wind” is used as a symbol for the outpoured creative energy proceeding as a verbal command from the “mouth” of the Deity. As in so many cosmogonies, the divine Voice or “Word” constitutes the first act of “creation”.
The sequence of so-called “memory” and the causing of a wind thus conform to the procedures described in other Scriptures. Each re- emergence of a Solar System or a Cosmos first originates in the Mind of the Logos wherein, as we have seen, the Archetype or divine “idea” of the Universe-to-be has been formulated. This concept includes all that was contained in its predecessors, together with the preserved essence of the evolutionary products of the last cycle of activity. The next succeeding phase consists of the projection of the Archetype by the emission of a spiritual energy of the quality of sound. This has the effect of causing hitherto quiescent substance to begin to assume forms expressive of the original design. Thus, as said, the Logos is referred to as “the Great Breath” which is breathed upon “the Great Deep” and in Genesis God (Elohim) speaks, saying “Let there be light”. The first five verses of the Gospel according to St. John, in which the Logos is referred to as the “Word”, enunciate the same cosmogonical concept.
Plato contributed the word “idea”, his philosophy being that of idealism in which the perfect original is said to pre-exist in the supra- sensual world and that this perfect Archetype alone exists, the earthly copy being only apparent. From God, as the First Cause, proceeded all creation concepts. The visible Universe, he taught, is a copy cf the image of the perfect Archetype which alone exists, the earthly appearance being relatively illusory. In Hindu philosophy also, that alone which is changeless and eternal is called “the Real” All that is subject to change through differentiation and decay, and which therefore has a beginning and an end, is regarded as may a—illusion, “the unreal” Thought is thus elevated towards a supernal world of absolute values.
Plato likewise taught the doctrine of the reincarnation of the unfolding spiritual Soul of man. In this procedure of Nature only the physical body of the child is a new creation, the reincarnating Ego having pre-existed and preserved within its vesture of light, the Causal Body, the evolutionary fruits of all preceding life cycles. In this microcosmic sense too the words “God remembered” are appropriate.
The waters of the Flood symbolise the virgin boundless sea (mare or Mary) of equi-polarised space within which is contained the potentiality of all life. This substance, when fructified by creative Spirit, is the material from which every form—from the cosmic to the physical atomic—is to be built.
The period of one hundred and fifty days, after which the waters were abated, by reduction gives the figure six. This is the final number of the second ternary and therefore indicates the approaching close of a cycle, in this case of quiescence or Pralaya (Flood). These numbers also refer to Sephirothal Powers and Intelligences (Elohim) associated with such periods.
Gen. 8: 4. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
The seventh month indicates the end of the first septenary, whilst mountains are generally used by authors writing in the Language of Symbols to typify exalted states of waking consciousness in which lofty Intelligences abide and which are entered by illumined men.
This highly spiritualised state is not inaptly represented by mountains. Parnassus, Mount Olympus, abode of the gods of Greece, the Himalayas, Kailasa, Meru,—a fabulous mountain in the navel or centre of the Earth, the heaven of Indra, containing the cities of the gods and the habitations of celestial spirits—Sinai where Moses received the tablets of the law, Ararat where the Ark rested, Carmel where Elijah made his sacrifice, Moriah where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac, Olivet from which Christ made His Ascension—all these as stated above typify lofty planes of Nature and the levels of consciousness attained by those exalted Beings who are said to dwell upon or enter them. The Egyptians wrote of the “Gods of the mountains” and the “Gods of the mountain of the Hidden Land”, these Gods being regarded as the off-spring of Ra Himself, having emerged from His eye. (Egypt. Heaven abd Hell, Volume III, p. 110, E. A. Wallis Budge, M.A., Litt.D.).
In conformity with this method of symbolism the Ark of Noah is correctly made eventually to have rested upon Mount Ararat; for this mountain represents that spiritual level of existence between periods of objective activity at which the seeds of all living beings and things are preserved, and from which successive creative epochs are initiated. In this cosmic interpretation Noah, in his turn, personifies the Official responsible for the preservation of the seeds within His aura (Ark) during periods of quiescence (Flood).
And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
To the student of symbology the statement that it was a bird which first emerged is of interest. In general the bird symbolises the triple Creative Deity, the first Trinity, the highest Sephirothal Triad. The bird form—triple with body and two wings-—makes the choice singularly apt. The fact that birds are oviparous also renders them suitable representations of the threefold Deity as source of the divine “idea”, the germ of worlds-to-be and all they will ever produce. The egg-shell, in its turn, appropriately typifies the newly marked out boundary, the Ring-pass-not, within which the divine “idea” is to become objectively manifested or “batched out”.
The egg thus becomes a symbol of the Cosmos in its original, abstract conception, the Archetype in its innermost state of existence, prior to the periods and processes of involution and evolution. Thus the emanation (involution) of a Universe begins from the simplest state of substance on the highest plane from which Spirit commences to express its qualities through matter. These attributes are germinal within the divine Consciousness before involution begins, and culminate in their densest (physical mineral) manifestation. Evolution, in its turn, progresses from the lowest material condition to the attainment of the highest degree of development of form and the loftiest spiritual condition of consciousness.
Aquatic birds are frequently used as symbols for the Creative Logos and are described as laying their eggs upon the water*’, representing the sea of space upon (actually within) which germinorion and development thereafter occur. According to Manu, Hiranyagarbha, (“Golden Egg” or “Golden Womb”) was a name of Brahma, the first male Deity, Who was formed by the indiscernible, eternal First Cause in a golden egg resplendent as the sun. Brahma, is also referred to as the Supreme Spirit, the active Creator of the Universe, Who sprang from the mundane egg deposited by the First Cause and is the Father of all creatures and the Progenitor of all worlds. Over this “egg “, or germ of Universe-to-be, the divine “bird” broods maternally to bring about its hatching as a Monad-filled Cosmos, each Monad in its turn being a reproduction of the Parent, a manifested triple Deity-in-the-becoming. The symbol of the bird thus also applies to the human Higher Triad, the threefold divine Self or Ego in man.
The raven was possibly chosen by the authors of Genesis because it is black. The highest Triad of all, the first creative Trinity, is above and beyond all objective light, and so to beings limited to that light it would be invisible or dark. It would also be unsubstantial, its motion or vibrating frequency being far too rapid for human perception and comprehension. The first Triad does not descend below its own level, only reproductions of itself emanating into the deeper densities. These concepts may have been in the minds of the authors of Genesis when they made the raven to fly to and fro over the landless waters, neither returning to the Ark nor settling on dry land.
THE BIRD AS SYMBOL OF THE SPIRITUAL SOUL OF MAN
Microcosmically interpreted, this Chapter is not without profound psychological revelations. Admittedly great care should always be taken neither to over-stress a possible symbolical significance nor to read into a narrative more than is inherent within it or was presumably present in the minds of the authors. Nevertheless, useful ideas may arise when certain passages are considered and interpreted as allegories portraying both cosmic and microcosmic verities. Throughout this work, therefore, as if exploring a mine or vein of precious metal, I have not hesitated to interpret the Scriptures and Mythologies of ancient peoples from this symbolical point of view and often, I hope, with valuable results. Thus the incident of the raven may also be susceptible of interpretation as a reference to the right uses of the limitations of the human mind. In the course of man’s later evolution the separative, analytical mentality, in Norse Mythology symbolised by the raven, is first developed and later discarded as a means of discovery and comprehension of ultimate truth. The symbol of the raven was also possibly chosen because certain of the attributes of this bird may aptly be applied to the human mind. For example the raven has a glossy sheen, is omnivorous, somewhat predacious, intelligent, mischievous when tamed, can learn to speak, was formerly an object of veneration and superstition, and was used on statues of the Vikings and on coats of arms—perhaps because ravens were sacred to Odin, who had two which were actually called Hugin (reflection) and Mugin (memory). He would send them out (somewhat Noah-like) at the dawn of each day and each evening receive from them accounts of the actions of men.
The Ark, microcosmically interpreted, stands for the Auric Envelope of spiritually awakening man, and with its contents may even be regarded as a symbol of man himself. The liberation of the raven represents man’s first uses of the formal intellect in the search for knowledge, whilst the bird’s non-return suggests both the inadequacy of logic alone for that purpose and its eventual transcendence. The formal, concrete, analytical and individualistic thinking principle, by itself incapable of perceiving and assimilating abstract spiritual truth, is symbolically blind, dark or unillumined by the light of such truth. A black raven therefore aptly portrays the formal mind of man whilst, as we have seen, its non-return to the Ark refers appropriately to the inevitable failure of attempts to conceive by purely mental processes alone truths which are eternal and infinite.
The dove later released by Noah symbolises the higher or abstract mind of man in which the intuitive principle is active as both divine light and divine love, well represented by the light grey, softly cooing and supposedly amorous bird which was associated with Venus. By means of intuitive perception alone may living truth, symbolised by the leaf of the olive tree be perceived. This is indicated by the return of the bird to the Ark with the leaf in its mouth.
Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth; then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the Ark.
And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again and unto him any more.
The dove in its turn, together with all birds, is used as a symbol of Deity, as heretofore suggested. From here on the narrative includes the drying up of the Flood waters, the resting of the Ark upon Mount Ararat and the subsequent emergence of its contents. These may be interpreted as descriptive of the opening of a new period of creative activity and, in the eternal succession of cycles, the projection once again of Archetypal influences in the fashioning of Nature’s material forms. The deliverance from the Ark thus allegorically describes the entry of the hitherto quiescent Monads into the new dispensation or period of involution and evolution.
In Cosmogenesis the dove represents the second divine Triad, which carries the formative impulse on into the deeper densities and is responsible for the actual production of the final mould. The three departures and the two returns of the dove are, in their turn, of special interest. The first of these symbolises the supra-mental stages of the creative process. No objective forms have yet appeared, though the Elohim have already become active in the projection of the Archetypes. As this process had not then produced physical Nature, including either trees or solid earth, involution not yet being complete, “the dove (in consequence) found no rest for the sole of her foot.” It is therefore said to have returned to the Ark or gestative condition. Eventually material structures imbued with spiritual life appeared. These are portrayed by the olive tree (the kabba- listic Tree of Life) from which the leaf was plucked and carried to the Ark on the second return of the dove. Thereafter physical Nature appeared with its myriad shapes in which the divine life became embodied.
On its third flight from the Ark the dove found the plant kingdom to be sufficiently developed to provide adequate shelter and food; it therefore did not return. This may imply that in the new dispensation, or post-diluvian era, the newly awakened creative impulses had by that time brought into existence Archetypes, mental forms and the first conditions of fruitful physical substance, symbolised by the olive tree. Thereafter the Monads (the inhabitants of the Ark) entered their prepared evolutionary field. The Ark, whether as symbol of the feminine aspect of Deity, of the aura of a Manu, of the human Auric Envelope or of the physical womb, is delivered of its contents and the activity of the new epoch is established right down tp the physical world.
DRY LAND APPEARS, AN ALTAR IS BUILT AND NOAH GOES FORTH FROM THE ARK
And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
And God spake unto Noah, saying.
Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and the sons’ wives with thee.
Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all fiesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:
Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
The number six hundred and one by addition totals seven, which numerically represents transition from a completed septenary cycle to its successor. According to the symbolism of numbers the first month and the first day of the month in which the waters were dried up indicate, by the use of the number one, the beginning of a new epoch.
DIVINE COMMANDS AS INDICATIONS OF NATURAL PROCEDURES
As is not unusual in the Sacred Language—doubtless to aid those for whom abstract thought was difficult—supposedly Divine commands are employed in order to enunciate and describe impersonal procedures and laws of Nature. This would seem to be exemplified in verses fifteen to nineteen of this Eighth Chapter of Genesis, when an apparently personal Deity is said to give instructions to a human being acting under His direction. Cyclic progression and the succession of the seasons are, however, to be regarded as continuing processes of Nature. When, in the course of time, a Universe, a star and a Scheme of planetary evolution reach their appointed end, they dissolve and their substance returns to the void or “Deep”, meaning virgin Space (Flood). The seeds of living things are, however, carefully preserved by Nature, as has heretofore been indicated. When in obedience to impersonal, cyclic law their re-emergence, further manifestation and development are to be continued a new Universe, a star or a Planetary Scheme gradually appears. Similarly Spring, Summer and Autumn are followed by the relative quiescence of Winter. Spring returns in its natural sequence and the cycle of regeneration and reappearance automatically follows, as partly affirmed in verse twenty-two of the Eighth Chapter of Genesis.
Occult philosophy indicates the similar application to the unfolding spiritual Self of man of this principle of progression. During each succeeding reincarnation the new personality as foetus, infant, adolescent and adult carries development a stage further. Nature then provides for the ultimate dissolution of the personality and a period of Egoic quiescence. This, in its turn, is followed by the physical conception, gestation and birth of a new personal incarnation of man’s divine Self. Thus, for both Universes and men such cyclic progression is a law of Nature rather than a process initiated by a personal Deity. It is, moreover, stated to be eternal; for occult philosophy states that “this stupendous development has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end.” As stated above, this evolution is the product of universal forces and not the result of intrusion by a divine Intelligence.
Since, however, the human mind—particularly in its formal aspect— is unable easily to conceive such abstract ideas, to assist during this phase of human development the Sages of old personified as Deities what actually are natural laws and processes. The supposed interminglings and resultant progeny of the gods and goddesses of ancient Mythologies are allegorically and symbolically descriptive of the interplay of Nature’s forces and its consequent effects.
And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in His heart, 1 will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of mail’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
In these verses, also, universal Law, Power, Life and Consciousness are personified by a single personal Deity. Furthermore, the Lord is described as enjoying the smell of burning flesh and as promising neither to curse His own creation (including man made by Him in His own image) nor ever again to destroy every living thing, as He in His great anger had previously done.
Here again, as we have seen, one is confronted with the extreme difficulty of accepting a literal reading of such Biblical passages. Evidently the Bible consists of a strange blend of spiritual and philosophic revelations, presumed and actual history, and statements which are incredible, impossible, repellant and obscene. Many minds and hands must have contributed, and whilst some of these authors were wise and IIIumined men, others were evidently ignorant and primitive people. The latter tended to describe God in terms of a bloodthirsty, tribal fetish who ordained and enjoyed massacres and blood sacrifices. It is thus apparent that the inspired Prophets were not able completely to control the choice of the subject-matter of the Hebrew Bible. Other hands added other material. On occasion, it would seem, the Sages of old made use even of otherwise undesirable statements as possible allegories veiling a hidden wisdom. The passage under consideration may permissibly be regarded as an example of this admixture of primitive anthropomorphism and of pseudo-history with allegory and symbol.
ANIMAL SACRIFICES SYMBOLIC OF SELF-PURIFICATION
Nevertheless the ritual sacrifice of animals as a religious act, whilst admittedly performed, is in itself not without a possible mystical significance. It may, for example, typify the burning out and the surrender of the animal propensities in man. The “sweet savour” rising up to the nostrils of the Lord could indicate the result of this act of self-spiritualisation; for the energy or driving force which hitherto has been directed into physical and sensual gratification becomes sublimated and is eventually received as spiritual and intellectual creativeness by the spiritual Self of man, personified in the text by the Lord. In this sense the supposedly pleasant odour from the burnt sacrifice may be taken to symbolise the transmuted energy, whilst the pleasure of the Lord is represented by both the purification and consequent sensitisation of the bodily person and the evolutionary progress of the divine Self which is thereby produced. Complete success in this transmutation of the “base metal” of animality into.the fine “gold” of spirituality—the true objective of alchemists and fire philosophers—brings about the conscious realisation of immortality. The promise by the Lord God not any more to destroy living things may in its turn possibly be described as an allegory of this great achievement.
If the mystical, racial and cosmogonical interpretations of the narrative of the Flood and of the symbols of the Ark and the burnt offerings are acceptable, then their blending in the story is seen to be extremely skilful. In the racial sense primitive man, for example, was relatively mindless, being guided largely by instinct. More advanced man developed the intellect, and eventually the mind itself (the non-returning raven) will come to be renounced as the sole instrument of guidance, and abstract thought and intuition (the dove) be adopted as the true source of knowledge, inspiration and mystical realisation. In due course, the Ageless Wisdom teaches, man will become spiritually self-conscious and in harmonious relationship with his Monad (God). Thereafter his whole life will be lived in surrender and sacrifice (the mystical burnt offerings) to the divine purpose and the divine will. He will then have become a perfected man— an occult Sage, an Adept. Whilst this knowledge has been made generally available to mankind in more recent times, in olden days it formed part of the secret teaching of the Mysteries, being revealed to their Initiates alone. When referred to in the literature of the time it was always heavily veiled by use of the Language of Allegory and Symbol.
THE RULE OF LAW
22. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, arid summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Although in this verse the Lord is affirmed to be ordaining the unbroken succession of the seasons and of day and night, as already observed these sequences follow naturally from the inception of the Macrocosmic creative— or rather emanative—procedure. Deity in this sense signifies law—the very law of existence, in fact—administered by hosts of highly evolved spiritual Beings, Elohim (God). This verse therefore, cannot be accepted in its literal meaning; for no individual Intelligence, however lofty, is personally responsible for seasonal changes and their products, for variations of temperature or for the alternations of night and day. The law is that, in an eternal succession of quiescence and activity, Universal Spirit fructifies Universal Substance, the product being a life-fIIIed Universe populated by innumerable beings (the Ark and its contents).
Occult philosophy thus elevates the concept of Deity far above that of a tribal fetish who produces natural phenomena and who is adored through fear, being potent to destroy. Rather is God revealed as the self-existent, creative Spirit emanated from the Absolute under that impersonal law which rules all manifestations of the equally impersonal life. Alternation is the underlying basis of all objective manifestation, regularity the unbroken rule and an evolutionary ascent the unfailing result. Such is the key to the mystery of life. Such, the Sages teach, is part of the revelation of the Scriptures of the world.
The reader of the Bible who is able to accept and apply such an approach will be preserved from much confusion and the tendency to discard the whole of a wonderful book because parts of it appear to “pile the impossible upon the incredible.” The deliberately constructed veils will then no longer hide from him the wisdom which they conceal.
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.
Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man.
And you. be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
As earlier stated, Adam alone in Eden is made to represent the first physical race of men in their primeval, androgynous condition, and Adam and Eve together personify the same race after the separation of the sexes. Ethnologically, therefore, Noah and his family, referred to in the first verse of the Ninth Chapter of the Book of Genesis, typify the race which followed. The next four verses indicate the evolutionary position— physical, intellectual and spiritual—of man in relation to the sub-human kingdoms of Nature. The suggestion of man’s divinely ordained dominion over the lower creation, of his right to exploit its members and of their decreed fear of him—surely a further example of the unacceptability of a literal reading of the Bible—is rather an indication of the respective evolutionary positions of animals and men than an imposed lordship and subordination. This status refers not only to their physical bodies, but also to the indw elling principle or “Soul” evolving within those bodies. The Ageless Wisdom refers to an ascending ladder of evolving life, the indwelling Spirit embodied in the mineral kingdom being on the lowest rung. This stage is followed by incarnation in the plant, animal and human kingdoms successively. In the last of these self-consciousness is attained—hence alone, I submit, the idea of the superiority of man over the sub-human kingdoms of Nature.
THE “BIRTH” OF THE SOUL OF MAN
In exposition of this idea the word “Soul” is of necessity used with two distinct meanings. Soul (Gr. nous) spelt with a capital “S” is defined in occult philosophy as the unfolding and relatively immortal spiritual Self of man, the triple Self of will, wisdom and intellect in a vesture of light (Gr. Augoeides) constructed of the substance of the subtler sub-levels of the mental world. This is the “Robe of Glory” of the Gnostics and the Causal Body (a translation from the Sanskrit term Karana Sharira as used in Hindu philosophy) of theosophical nomenclature. The word “soul” (Gr. psyche) with a small “s” is used to indicate the psychical nature (mind and emotion) of animate beings, whether animals or men.
Animals differ from men in that, unlike men, they have not yet attained to self-conscious individuality. Each animal is not, in consequence, a single spiritual being composed of inter-related body, self-conscious Soul and pure Spirit. Animals have souls, but according to occult philosophy are animated by group consciousness, herd instinct, arising from within a mass of soul essence or a group soul and not from a single spiritual Soul. In the course of evolution, out of this group soul a number of individualised human Egos or unfolding, self-conscious Souls become differentiated. In this way the indwelling and unfolding life in Nature, having evolved during vast ages through the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms, attains to the status of manhood, or enters the human kingdom. This natural procedure is termed “individualisation”.
Unlike the animal, therefore, man is a threefold being composed of body, Soul and Spirit, with an unbroken interior Ray which is the connecting link, the true “covenant” referred to in later verses, between the bodily man (Noah in this particular instance) and his innermost spiritual Self (God). This is symbolised by the rainbow, for it also is built of light and constitutes that “bridge” over which one day the Soul of man will pass from separated self-consciousness into full realisation of its unity with the life-essence of the Universe and with the Supreme Lord of Life. In Hinduism this is referred to as Moksha or Liberation, in Buddhism as Nirvana or Absorption, and in Christianity as Salvation or Ascension to the fight hand of God. Unfortunately, however, the verses under consideration have been misinterpreted to indicate a divine enactment bestowing upon man the right to use, misuse, and even cruelly exploit, members of the animal kingdom of Nature. In consequence, the second verse of Chapter Nine of the Book of Genesis has proved to be prophetic of the fear which many animals naturally feel towards human beings. This fear is indeed justified, for man has long been their greatest enemy.
Whilst the interpretations which follow might read as a criticism of meat-eating and a recommendation to adopt the vegetarian way of life, I wish to make it clear that such ideas are included solely in relation to the injunction against meat-eating contained in the fourth verse. This book is written as an impartial interpretation of the Bible, and any moral of ethical implications which it may seem to contain are only advanced because they arise naturally from the text and therefore cannot be ignored
The fourth verse—”But flesh with the life thereof which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat”—unmistakably corrects the misinterpretation, particularly concerning the infliction of the suffering which is inseparable from the use of animal flesh for food. This verse clearly indicates that man was not created by divine law to be a flesh-eater and a blood-drinker. As the anatomy and physiology of his body also proclaim, he is designed to be a plant feeder. The result of man’s departure from the way of life ordained in the fourth verse is stated in verses five and six, for in them the resultant operation of the law of retribution is clearly enunciated.
The existence of this law is also affirmed by the Lord Christ; for in the Fifth Chapter of Matthew, verse eighteen, we read: For verily I say unto you, TIII heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, tIII all be fulfIIIed,” and by St. Paul in the Sixth Chapter of Galatians, verse seven:...God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
THE BOW IN THE CLOUD
1. And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
2. And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
3. And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
4. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
5. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations;
6. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
7. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth that the bow shall be seen in the cloud;
8. And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
9. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
10. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
The very important symbol of the rainbow introduced into these verses is susceptible of a number of interpretations. Several of these are considered in some detail in this Chapter, which is largely devoted to the subject. An allegorical reading is enforced by the fact that rainbows are natural phenomena formed in rain or spray by the rays of the sun or the moon. Rainbows must have appeared from the time when the first condensations and precipitations of moisture took place on the Earth. The laws under which they appear are well-known and provide a complete explanation of their visibility. There was, therefore, neither need nor place for such a special creative act to be performed by the Deity to establish the fact of an objective covenant of this nature between God and man, for rainbows would have appeared in any case. Furthermore, the relationship or bond between the Supreme Deity and the Spirit of man, the human Monad, is interior since an inseparable unity exists between them, the human body being in this sense a temple of God, as St. Paul more than once affirmed. Admittedly early man—indeed, all men without mystical experience of the divine Presence within them—could not be expected to be aware of this unity and the strangeness and beauty of the rainbow might well have been used to draw attention to and serve as a reminder of the “God which worketh in you”. Verse sixteen, interpreted literally, suggests that God Himself needed a reminder of the everlasting covenant, and set His bow in the heavens for that purpose also—a reductio ad absurdum.
THE TRUE COVENANT BETWEEN GOD AND MAN
In this the Monadic interpretation, the covenant also indicates the assurance of the ultimate regeneration of man; for by virtue of the divine Monadic ray or “silver cord”—the sutrdtma or “thread-self” of Hindu philosophy—an unbreakable link exists between the Monad, its Egoic expression and their successive bodily individualities during their physical lifetimes. As the rainbow exhibits the seven colours of the spectrum, so the Monadic “bridge” or Ray is composed of the inherent sevenfold power of the Monad. In this reading the everlasting remembrance and covenant which the Supreme Deity has promised to establish between Himself and man is regarded as affirmation of the existent, inseparable unity of God with man and man with God, and not as a covenant newly established immediately following the recession of the waters of the Flood. Our Lord affirmed His realisation of this oneness in His words: “I and my Father are one”—Christ and man being identical in this respect— and St. Paul wrote: “... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you...”The custom is here followed by the ancient writers of enunciating a principle or a law in the form of a decision, a command or an action of a personal Deity. Actually the unity is inherent in both Universe and man, the latter having been made in God’s image and therefore being eternally divine in his essential nature. The aptness of the symbol is further evidenced by the fact that even as both ends of a rainbow reach to Earth, and the uppermost arc of the bow is in the heights above, so the spiritual light shines from the “highest” to the “lowest” levels of divine manifestation.
Applied racially, the rainbow as a covenant between God and man may be interpreted as a statement of the existence of an imperishable, unifying, spiritual Presence within each of its members which assures continuity of identity from one race to the next. This indwelling Divinity forms a spiritual “bridge” along which the Egos of humanity in their successive incarnations pass from nation to nation and race to race in an unending spiral ascent.
Cosmically the rainbow in the cloud symbolises the spiritual link between all cycles major and minor. It is the “bridge” whether universal or planetary, over which the emanated Monad-bearing life-wave crosses from an old to a new dispensation. The material manifestation of such life is indicated by the symbol of the rainbow; for by its emanation the white light of unmanifested Spirit is split up into the seven component hues. In his Adonais Shelley thus expressed this idea:
“Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity.” (St. 52).
The rainbow is also a symbol of hope and there is some philosophic justification for this popular view; for mystically interpreted the rainbow indicates the absolute certainty of safe passage by the Monad-Ego across the “ocean” of manifested existence to the “further shore This journey of the Soul takes man through successive physical incarnations and throughout that journey the ever-present Monadic Ray is his assurance of both safety and the ultimate attainment of Adeptship, which implies realisation of unity with the Godhead.
AN AFFIRMATION OF LAW
As we have seen, although depicted as a personal Deity Who Himself decrees a certain sequence of cause and effect, in assuring Noah of the Covenant the Lord is actually affirming the existence and operation of an impersonal, immutable, natural law. Thus in affirming in verse six of Chapter Nine of the Book of Genesis that “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed...”, God is most seriously warning mankind of the retributive effects that under this law would accrue to the race and to every individual as an inevitable result of the unnecessary shedding of blood.
Since such a sequence is not always clearly discernible in the same physical incarnation in which the action is performed, and the law would therefore seem to be either inoperative or faulty, another factor must be presumed to apply if human life is in truth ruled by law. This factor is provided by the theory of reincarnation and if this doctrine be true the precipitation of the effect of a causative action could be held over until a later life. This is the concept of karma as found in Hinduism and Buddhism, which religions teach the evolution of man to perfection through successive lives on Earth, justice being assured—even if possibly postponed—under the inviolable law of cause and effect. As a rider, it is also conceived that actions intermediate between “sowing” and “reaping” modify the ultimate consequences. Karma is thus presented as flexible, as a modifiable rather than as a fixed decree.
NOAH, HIS WIFE, SONS AND GRANDSON PERSONIFY COMPONENTS OF HUMAN NATURE
And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
These are the thee sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
And Ham the father of Canaan saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brethren without.
And Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father, and their faces were backward, and they savj not their father’s nakedness.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
In these verses it would seem that a further esoteric revelation is being made by means of allegory, symbol and patent incongruity. - Indeed, a literal reading might be regarded as destructive of the whole basis of the story of Noah and the Ark; for if so read the Lord’s choice of Noah as being the only man amongst the whole multitude of the human race worthy of being saved is shown to be founded upon a complete misjudgment of the true character of the Patriarch. Two alternatives therefore present themselves to the reader. The passage must either be dismissed as unworthy of serious consideration, or else be carefully studied in order to discover whether a significant truth is concealed behind otherwise unacceptable statements. Remembering the exhortation of the author of the Zohar quoted in the opening pages of this Volume: “Woe to the man who sees in the Thorah, i.e. Law, only simple recitals and ordinary words!”; recalling also the kabbalistic idea that the Thorah is an organic whole with all its parts essential to the understanding of the total work; and in order that an important revelation should not be missed, the story will now be interpreted by use of the classical keys.
On examination this verses may possibly be read as a definition and description of the true nature and make-up of man. In the human interpretation, Noah represents a projected Ray (Atma) of the essential spiritual unit of human existence, the Monad. His wife personifies the evolving human Ego, a threefold manifestation of the Monad as will, Wisdom and Intelligence, in its vehicle of abstract thought or Higher Manas (Sk.). The Ark is a symbol of that vehicle, variously referred to as the “Vesture of Light”, the Augaides (Gr.), and the Causal Body. Noah and his wife together, as Monad-Ego, are said to have had three sons—Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham in his turn had a son called Canaan. This genealogy may be interpreted as an allegory of the four mortal principles of the human personality—the mental body or lower Manas (Shem) the emotional body (Ham), the vital body (Japheth) and the physical body (Canaan), “offspring” and vehicles of the Monad-Ego.
INTOXICATION—SYMBOL OF SPIRITUAL EXALTATION
The drunkenness of Noah—like that attributed to the Initiates of the Bacchic and Dionysian Mysteries in their original, pure forms—may indicate the spiritual exaltation, or God-intoxication, experienced when unity with the Monad is attained. The possession of a vineyard and the occupation of husbandman symbolise the fact that the seeds of all deific powers reside in the Monad. The meaning and purpose of human existence in the material world (vineyard) are to manifest (grow) and develop to perfection (ripeness) the inherent (seedlike) human faculties. In order to do so, vehicles of consciousness as instruments of awareness and action are essential. These vehicles are frequently personified as father, mother, children and grandchildren.
NAKEDNESS—SYMBOL OF SPIRITUAL PURITY
The nakedness of Noah describes the natural condition of the Monad- Ego in its own world of pure Spirit. There it is unstained by desire, unsullied by contact with matter and the world and unreservedly open to universal light and truth. When, in an allegory, the symbol of nakedness is applied to the mortal man, it implies freedom from traditional and imposed modes of thought and belief and the complete and faithful exposure of the mind to truth itself. The Monad-Ego, by its very nature, abides perpetually in this condition. In conformity with such symbolism Noah is said to have been naked.
THE FAMILY OF NOAH AS PRINCIPLES OF MAN
If an attempt be made to explain the apparent anomalies in these verses by regarding the three sons and the grandson of Noah as personifications of the four mortal principles of man, then these constitute the denser coverings or vestures of the threefold Monad-Ego. In this sense—as we have seen—Shem, the mental body, and Jajjheth, the vitality-conserving etheric double, actually clothe or embody the Ego. Ham, personifying the emotional principle of man, functions rather as a conveyor of the life-force than as a vehicle or “covering” for the Ego.
The supposed modesty of Shem and Japheth may be interpreted as portraying the fact that these two vehicles of mental and etheric- physical substance are those in which matter and form predominate over life. In consequence they do not readily and naturally respond to and manifest spiritual impulses from the Monad-Ego. Nevertheless it is they who are rightly said to “clothe” the Ego, since they serve as its vehicles in the denser worlds and so “cover” its purely spiritual nakedness or natural condition in its own world. Strangely, and indeed unjustly if the literal reading be followed, since both brothers performed the same act, the son of Ham (Canaan—the physical body) was cursed and condemned to be “a servant of servants” to his brethren. Shem, on the other hand, was blessed and Japheth promised enlargement (doubtless of his affairs) whilst dwelling in the tents of Shem.
In what sense could such inexplicable behaviour on the part of a grandfather be justified? Consideration of the suggested personifications offers an answer. The physical body, for example, is by its very nature both the temporary “curse” and the ultimate “blessing” of man. It is the curse in that it is the instrument which most deeply imprisons, even entombs, the Ego. Because, however, the incarnation of the Spirit of man in the densest of all its sheaths, the physical body (Canaan), is essential to the full unfoldment and “perfection” of its innate powers and faculties, that vehicle must be regarded as also of very great importance. Thus if Canaan be interpreted as a personification of the body, then his position as grandson in the family of Noah harmonises with this view; for in the successive development of the four mortal bodies of the Monad-Ego throughout the ages, the mental, the emotional and the etheric bodies precede the development of the physical. In this sense—the sequence of development and the process of incarnation—the physical body is the latest of the series to be formed and entered. In conformity with the practice of authors writing in the language of symbols, Canaan is therefore not inaptly described as the grandson.
This Ninth Chapter of the Book of Genesis is thus botli chronological and ethnological for it brings the story of the descent of the Monad-Ego— both of the race as a whole and of every individual—to the stage at which all the seven principles of man have been formed and are used as instruments of consciousness and action. A complete sevenfold human structure has come into existence. Over and above all is the Lord God, the Logos Who “speaks” to Noah, the Source of life, the Emanator of all beings and the Agent for the manifestation of cosmic Mind and universal law. To sum up, if such a reading be permissible, the personifications of the principles of man are: Noah, Atma or projected Ray of pure spirit; his wife Higher Manas, abstract intelligence, who is also the potential source or mother- to-be of Buddhi or intliitive wisdom as yet unborn; Shem, the lower Manas or reasoning mind; Ham, the kdmic or desire principle, seat of the emotions;
Japheth, the etheric body; Canaan, the physical body. The fact is of interest that in this present era only five “planes”—components of the fivefold Universe—are entered and used by man as the field of his evolution. They are the Atmic, the Buddhic, the dual Mdnasic the emotional and the physical levels of consciousness and degrees of density of substance. If such an approach to the subject be justifiable, then a careful examination rather than a dismissal of the passage under consideration will prove to have been of considerable value.
One might, however, be forgiven for questioning the necessity for the veiling of the information concerning the constitution of man which the interpretation is presumed to have revealed. In reply, it may be pointed out that such knowledge is indeed power-bestowmg and therefore susceptible of misuse, to the grave detriment of those falling into such an error and of all whom it affects. Once a man learns that there is a divine Principle within him, and by the requisite practices contacts that Principle, then the power of the Universe is at his disposal. His will-force and his capacity to hypnotise and otherwise influence the conduct of others by concentrated thought and by oratory, for example, can make of him either a God or a devil. To guard against his becoming the latter, the more esoteric aspects of the Ageless Wisdom have from the remotest times been carefully veiled. Nevertheless, those who teach humanity by this means can in no sense be accuscd of deliberately keeping it in ignorance, since the knowledge is actually available to those who are able to meet the conditions necessary for its discovery.
The closing verses of Chapter Nine states that the age of Noah at his death was nine hundred and fifty years. By theosophic reduction the number fourteen—and thus five—is obtained, giving a numerical summing-up and restatement of the teaching of the latter portion of the Chapter. In terms of the symbolism of numbers this may be interpreted as a statement of the fivefold constitution of the Universe referred to above. All basic numbers in symbology have at least two significations. They refer to the successive sub-cycles and phases of the major cycle, and also to principles and levels of consciousness of both Universe and man.
THE CHALDEO-EGYPTIAN ORIGIN OF HEBRAISM ACCORDING TO OCCULT DOCTRINE
Chapter Ten of Genesis is largely historical, telling of the nations and tribes which originated in and around the basin of the Euphrates and constituted the Chaldean and Babylonian population; for the Old Testament, with its multiplicity of authorship, oscIIIates in somewhat disconcerting fashion between the esoteric and the exoteric, the philosophic and the historical. The racial history and development of the Jewish peoples have here become blended with the occult revelations from the Sanctuary. The occult thread is, however, present and distinctly discernible under the veil of interwoven symbology, allegory and history. A digression is therefore now made in order to consider the subject from an occult viewpoint.
The Jews drew their religion from Chaldea, and a great deal that is esoterically true in the Mosaic books is of Chaldean origin with a later admixture from the Egyptian Mysteries. According to occult philosophy the original Semites who arose from the Fourth or Atlantean Race lived largely, but not entirely, in the regions between the Levant and Eastern Persia, now Iran. They became blended with the emigrating central Asian Aryans to produe a branch of the Chaldean sub-race.
Abraham and Moses were high Initiates who assisted in the development of the Hebrews into Semitic Aryans, instructing them to preserve through several generations a certain purity of blood. This instruction gave rise to the concept that the Hebrews were a specially chosen people who must not mingle with the Gentiles.
Occult philosophy teaches that the evolution of both life and form in all the kingdoms of Nature is guided throughout each of its successive cycles and their various phases by Officials of superhuman stature. These Beings are members of a Hierarchy of ministrants and servants of the will of the Solar Logos. This Solar Hierarchy is represented on Earth by the Great White Brotherhood of Adepts. Fully conversant with the evolutionary plan and both its intermediate and ultimate objectives, They are able to assist the development of the species according to that plan, or “idea” in the Platonic sense. One of these Officers is referred to in Sanskrit as the Manu (personified by Noah) Who, in addition to extraterrestrial activities, guides the evolution of the races and sub-races of men on Earth. In order to preserve the purity of the racial type the Lord Manu transmitted through agents of the Brotherhood instructions prohibiting for a time intermarriage with members of other tribes.
Certain of the Prophets of Israel were employed as representatives of the Manu. These included—doubtless among others—Moses, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Elijah, Elisha and Samuel who, according to occult tradition, were Initiate Members of the Greater Mysteries. The School or Secret College of the Prophets may be regarded as representing the Ancient Mysteries which had been established amongst the early Hebrews and included the Official Grades or Degrees in both the Lesser and Greater Mysteries. This School is still in existence, the original Kabbalists and Essenes being its earlier and the Druses its later heirs and descendants.
The esoteric Druses are described as an occult community who jealously guard their traditional secrets. They preserve one of the Sanctuaries of the Greater Mysteries which is still operating today and is used largely by Semitic peoples and their racial offspring. It is a unique and very stern School of Occultism, with a symbology and ceremonial brought down from ancient times. The old Akkadian, Chaldean, Hittite and Syrian occult teachings are blended to form the esoteric doctrines and Rites of the Druses.
The subject-matter of Chapter Ten of the Book of Genesis, consisting wholly of the genealogy of the sons of Noah, does not offer opportunity for occult commentary. I therefore pass on to Chapter Eleven, which is full of interest to the student.
THE TOWER OF BABEL
Gen. 11: One language in the world. The building of Babel, and confusion of tongues. The generations of Shem, and of Terah. Terah goeth from Ur to Haran.
1. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
3. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
4. And they said, Go to, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
8. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
The Bible is indeed a difficult book to understand, and this partly because of the almost inextricable admixture and juxtaposition of the esoteric, the exoteric and the pseudo-historical. Because of the multiplicity of authorship and the numerous interpolations and disfigurements, the original revelation is deeply veiled. Pure occultism and plain history, the latter often mistold, stand together in Chapter after Chapter. Allegory and fact are presented side by side, with nothing to distinguish them, save the intuition of the reader and some knowledge of the keys of interpretation. Nevertheless passages of the purest wisdom shine like jewels in the morass and it is these which catch the eye and evoke the gratitude of the student in search of truth.
Thus, between two long genealogies is placed the allegory of the Tower of Babel with its unacceptable exoteric suggestion that the Lord God, in order to restrict their power, deliberately cast His people into confusion by breaking their unity and destroying their common language. Since from such an action a great many of the subsequent sorrows of the so-called sons of Noah—supposedly the whole of mankind—arose, the attribution of this conduct to the Supreme Deity is unthinkable.
THE SOURCE OF SUFFERING AND ESCAPE FROM IT
In the Hindu Scripture, Yogavasishta, we read:
“As the source of all waters is the ocean, so the idea ‘I am this’ and ‘this is mine’ is the cause of all our suffering. The thought of the ego is the cause of our fatal bondage. He gets bound himself who imagines a limit within his Self which is immeasurable and infinite. We are deluded and undergo terrible experiences of the world, because we feel ourselves as different or separate from Brahman, in spite of having our being in the ocean of Brahman. Trust in perishable things is known to be the source of numberless troubles. The individual becomes liberated when he gives up the attributes of mind and acquires the attributes of Brahman. The individual becomes liberated when he perceives without distinction the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self.”
In Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy. Dr. Radhakrishnan writes:
“So long as we feel ourselves to have individualities of our own, we will be beset with conflicts and contradiction, pain and pleasure, but w’hen once we disinterestedly give ourselves up to the Whole, there is an end to all discord... We can never completely break the shell of egoism and attain the infinite if we remain in the finite universe, giving a substantial existence to our own individual self. The release from this world of trouble, risk and adventure can be had only by losing the separate self.”
In Book of Meditations, James Allen states:
“Seeking to save his personal life, man forfeits the greater impersonal life of truth; clinging to the perishable, he is shut out from the knowledge of the Eternal... Love of self shuts men out from Truth, and seeking their own personal happiness they lose the deeper, purer and more abiding bliss... He who has yielded up that self, that personality that most men love, and to which they cling with such fierce tenacity, has left behind him all perplexity, and has entered into a simplicity so profoundly simple as to be looked upon by the world, involved as it is in a network of error, as foolishness...
“The spirit of man is inseparable from the Infinite, and can be satisfied with nothing short of the Infinite, and the burden of pain will continue to weigh upon man’s heart, and the shadows of sorrow to darken his pathway until ceasing from wanderings in the dreamworld of matter, he comes back to his home in the reality of the Eternal. As the smallest drop of water detached from the ocean contains all the qualities of the ocean, so man, detached in consciousness from the Infinite, contains within himself its likeness; and as the drop of water must, by the law of nature, ultimately find its way back to the ocean and lose itself in its silent depth, so each man, by the unfailing law of his nature, at last returns to his source, and loses himself in the heart of the Infinite.”
In one possible interpretation, however, the narrative may be read as an allegory describing normal processes of evolution, and by the term “the Lord” should be understood the creative and evolutionary impulses and the laws governing their manifestations in Nature and in man. As recently observed, a full knowledge of the existence of this irresistible, propellant power and of the laws under which it finds expression in all kingdoms of Nature, including the human, would bestow very great theurgic and hypnotic powers upon its possessor. Evil-minded men, as history reveals, grasping at this knowledge and not hesitating unscrupulously to misuse it and, to some extent, divert Nature’s purposes to their own personal ends, could pervert the character of individuals—and even of nations. Under such almost demoniacal misuse of power-bestowing knowledge, people who have hitherto been reasonably harmonious members of the family of nations can temporarily be changed into active and cruel enemies of the human race, as is demonstrated by wars of aggression— notably the First and Second World Wars. The evils of the Nazi regime, the hysterical and slavish national acclaim of its leader and his immediate associates, the embarkation upon an unprovoked war of aggression upon a vast scale, the extermination of some six mIIIion members of the Hebrew
Race and the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps—all these afford examples of the danger resulting from the possession of even a modicum of occult knowledge. With such events frequently recorded in history and occurring in living memory, the motives of the authors of the Scriptures and Mythologies of ancient peoples in veiling their esoteric knowledge in the Language of Allegory and Symbol proves—as has frequently been pointed out in this work—to be more than justified.
How, then, may the story of the Tower of Babel be interpreted? It may, I suggest, be regarded as descriptive of an epoch in the history of man a.s an individual and as a race, whilst the allegory is also susceptible of a cosmic interpretation. Pursuing these ideas, pre-Babel or primitive man may be presumed to have been largely motivated by relatively mindless tribal consciousness, his actions being largely guided by herd instinct, Post-Babel man, on the other hand, had begun to develop the mind. As mentality later entered in, displacing instinct by reason, individuality began to be born. The Tower of Babel—as already suggested in the abridged interpretation which appears in Part Two of this Volume—is thus a symbol of man’s natural evolutionary ascent from the first purely physical race through the development of instinctual and emotional states of consciousness, on to that of the capacity for free personal choice based upon the conscious exercise of the intellect. The subsequent sorrows of mankind are traceable to the misuse for gain often at the cost of others, of this power of self-centred thought and action. In Oriental philosophy, as quoted above, such individualistic attitude of mind is called “the heresy of separateness”.
The city of Babel with its Tower is aptly described as unfinished because human evolution was at that time, and still is, incomplete. The erection of the symbolic Tower will, however, be continued by the Sixth and Seventh Races, which will develop the capacity to use intuitive perception and the spiritually inspired and reinforced power of the will. This latter is to be man’s greatest and most Godlike attainment; for, recognising the identity of his own interior Spirit-Essence with that of the Deity, he will share in increasing degree in the divine omnipotence. This will be the pinnacle of the as yet unfinished “Tower” of Babel.
The Tower is thus both a symbol and a chart cf the evolution of man’s consciousness. Its foundations are rooted deep in the earth and represent the androgynous Adam (earth) Race, the first truly physical humanity which existed on Earth and evolved through some mIIIions of years in a state of both mental and desire-free torpor, symbolised by Adam’s sleep. The later appearance of Eve beside Adam, or of single-sexed male and female humanity with its self-conscious experience of emotion as sex desire and its resultant gratification in the procreative act, represents the first layer of bricks above the ground, as it were. The sex desire of the first men and women on Earth, as earlier observed, is portrayed by the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden by the serpent (symbol of the Serpent Fire or universal, creative life-force), whilst Adam’s reponse is allegorically indicated by the actions of receiving and sharing the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The clay of which the bricks were made is a symbol of primordial substance. The sun which dried and baked the bricks represents creative Spirit which fructifies matter and, on the involutionary journey of forth- going, produces forms according to their Archetypes. Gradually, on the downward arc, these creative “ideas” are projected from Universal Mind to become manifest as physical forms. Symbolically, the clay is hardened and the bricks are baked. Eventually the different species developed, to culminate in the emergence of man. Slowly, as the Third Race was followed by the Fourth, the great Tower or racial symbol arose. Since this progress occurred in man and was the result of human experience and effort, the narrative correctly states that the Tower of Babel was built by man.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDIVIDUALITY
The allegory is carried no further than the discontinuance of the erection of the city and its Tower and the scattering of the people “upon the face of all the earth”. This progressive change from pre-Babel instinctual, tribal unity into post-Babel individualism, and consequent separation, was not the result of action by a personal Deity but came about through the natural development of the human mind. The seeds of disunity, divided activity and competitiveness then germinated and began to produce their first fruits. The unifying, cohesive influence of the herd instinct, which had hitherto held the people together in families and tribes, thereafter began to lose its hold.
A spirit of enquiry and a search for knowledge also became evident, and these led individuals and groups to explore the Earth and gradually to emigrate from the original racial centres of civilisation. Through vast ages, as the analytical and separative attributes of the mind developed, differences of language and custom accentuated a growing diversity. This culminated in the production of the entirely distinct races and nations characteristic of humanity at the present time.
The change from unity to diversity was thus inevitable—completely necessary, indeed—for the evolution of man. Despite its grievous results, destined to endure far on into the Fifth Root Race (the present time), it was an essential phase of the process of the unfoldment of human life and consciousness. It might even be said that Nature demanded it as the price of the triumph to follow and the crown to be won. The triumph will consist of a conscious, self-chosen return to unification, and the crown will be the realisation of the unity of the life within all the diversities of form.
FROM MATTER TO SPIRIT, FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN
Macrocosmically, the incarnation of the one life into many forms, and the expression of the one creative “idea” through its innumerable manifestations in Nature, are allegorically described. From this cosmic point of view the building of the Tower of Babel might symbolise entry on the pathway of return from matter to Spirit, or from Earth to Heaven. The unfinished state indicates a continuing process as yet incomplete, whilst the limitless regions of the sky above suggest an infinity of potential attainment.
The whole story of the city and Tower of Babel may be said to portray progression by the one life from unity (pre-Babel and Babel) through diversity (post-Babel) towards unity again. It is thus entirely symbolic, and is one of the many flawless jewels of wisdom which are scattered in prodigal abundance throughout the pages of the Bible.
An indirect reference may possibly be perceived to the Sacred Language of the Mystery Schools, the significance of which was—and still is—the same for all peoples. In olden days this cryptic tongue was employed universally as the literary vehicle for occult knowledge. Later the primeval Wisdom Religion and its hierogrammatic language were forgotten by the masses, who had become restricted to the several tongues of the different nations of the world.
THE GENERATIONS OF SHEM
Although verses ten to thirty-two of the Eleventh Chapter of Genesis are largely genealogical, they also serve to indicate the general expansion and growing diversity of the early races of men, and particularly of the Semitic peoples. They close with the introduction of those two momentous figures, Terah and his son Abram, whose deeply allegorical adventures begin in Chapter Twelve. Racially and historically Abram represents the father and leader of the Aryc-Semitic peoples, and his experiences are those of one selected branch, the Palestinian.
A SUGGESTED CHART OF CORRESPONDENCES BETWEEN PARTS OF MAN AND THE UNIVERSE
“THE UNIVERSE IS A MAN ON A XARGE SCALE”
PARTS OF THE UNIVERSE
THE CORRESPONDING PARTS OF UNIVERSE AND MAN
Colours of the Spectrum
The Syllables of Mantram— Aum mane padme hum
Aum (Atma) Hum (Physical)
PARTS OF MAN
Human Principle and Plane
Atma Etheric and physical
Clairvoyance and Intuition
Clairaudiencc and Smell
Element (in relation to human principle and sense)
Dormant as yet
Dormant as yet