THE HIDDEN WISDOM
IN THE HOLY BIBLE
THE GOLDEN GRAIN OF WISDOM IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS
(Genesis—Chapters Twenty-five to Fifty)
THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE
Adyar, Madras 600 020, India
Wheaton, III, USA. London, England
© The Theosophical Publishing House, 1971
First Edition 1971 Reprint 1992
Printed at the Vasanta Press
The Theosophical Society Adyar, Madras 600 020, India
THE HIDDEN WISDOM AND WHY IT IS CONCEALED
AUTHOR’S PREFACE TO VOLUME III
PART ONE THE LANGUAGE OF ALLEGORY AND SYMBOL
CHAPTER I PROBLEMS ARISING FROM A LITERAL READING OF THE BIBLE, AND SOME SOLUTIONS
CHAPTER II SOME KEYS OF INTERPRETATION
PART TWO INTERPRETATIONS OF TWO PASSAGES FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS
CHAPTER I THE STORY OF ESAU, JACOB AND THE BIRTHRIGHT; A MACROCOSMIC INTERPRETATION
CHAPTER II THE STORY OF JOSEPH, HIS COAT OF MANY COLOURS AND HIS DESCENT INTO THE PIT
PART THREE ISAAC, REBEKAH, ESAU AND JACOB
CHAPTER I THE BIRTH OF ESAU AND JACOB
CHAPTER II GOD’S PROMISE TO ISAAC
CHAPTER III JACOB IS BLESSED BY ISAAC
CHAPTER IV JACOB EMBARKS UPON PATRIARCHAL RESPONSIBILITY
CHAPTER V THE ISRAELITE NATION IS FOUNDED
CHAPTER VI JACOB AND RACHEL MEET AT THE WELL
CHAPTER VII THE BIRTH OF THE TWELVE TRIBES
CHAPTER VIII JACOB BECOMES THE SECOND PATRIARCH OF ISRAEL
CHAPTER IX JACOB SEEKS REUNION WITH ESAU
CHAPTER X THE RECONCILIATION OF JACOB AND ESAU
CHAPTER XI PROCREATIVE UNIONS, LEGITIMATE AND ILLICIT, AS ALLEGORIES OF THE EMANATION OF UNIVERSES
CHAPTER XII JACOB OBEYS THE COMMAND OF GOD
PART FOUR THE LIFE OF JOSEPH AS A MYSTERY DRAMA
CHAPTER I JOSEPH PERSONIFIES THE LOGOS AND ITS MANIFESTATIONS
CHAPTER II JOSEPH’S COAT OF MANY COLOURS
CHAPTER IV JOSEPH INTERPRETS HIS FELLOW PRISONERS’ DREAMS
CHAPTER V THE DREAMS OF PHARAOH
CHAPTER VI JACOB SENDS HIS SONS TO EGYPT
CHAPTER VII JOSEPH IS REUNITED WITH HIS BRETHREN
CHAPTER VIII THE GIFT OF A SILVER CUP
CHAPTER IX JOSEPH RESTORES UNITY WITHIN HIS FAMILY
CHAPTER X JOSEPH’S FATHER JOURNEYS INTO EGYPT
CHAPTER XI THE CLOSING YEARS OF JACOB’S LIFE
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 gives 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 Christian 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 Yoga 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 ail 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 history 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 metaphoricised 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 teaching 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, Franck, 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
“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 of 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. Scho- lem.
“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 the 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 journey, that supreme abode of the all-pervading.”
The Kathopanishad 1-3-3- to 1-3-9,
Dr. Radhakrish-nan’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.”
“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 III
My purpose in making a close examination of the Book of Genesis has been to seek for, and when found to reveal, the deeply hidden wisdom —the Theosophy of the Hebrews - known as Kabbalism, which teaches that ...The Torah (law), in all of its words, holds supernal truths and sublime secrets.” This wisdom is thought to have been concealed by the authors beneath the supposedly historical account of the founding and early life of the Hebrew nation. Mankind today is, I believe, in pressing need of this wisdom, and the Old Testament is by no means to be regarded as merely a collection of ancient writings but also, and far more, as a very important source of guidance to mankind.
“What kind of guidance?”, it may here be asked. That which is applicable to almost every aspect of human life, I suggest. If, for example, diseases are rampant throughout the world, and many of them can at present be neither prevented nor eradicated, this is due to lack of knowledge of the way to perfect health. If, despite World Organisations for peace, wars continue to threaten the security of nations and to bring death and destruction to tens of thousands, again it is because of lack of knowledge of the true pathway to peace.
If the economic life of nations and individuals, and the conduct of their industries and trade, bring wealth to a restricted number and poverty and unemployment to many, with tendencies to warfare between them, then the cause of this inequity is lack of knowledge of the laws governing harmony between nations and individuals. If human morals are declining and the institutions of home life and marriage, with their special provision of loving care and wise training for children, ate failing in the fulfilment of their Junctions, then again the fault is due to lack of knowledge, especially concerning the true nature of man and the purposes for which he exists.
This greatly needed information, I submit, is to be found in the Scriptures of mankind, and notably in those of the earlier Hebrew people who gave to the world such writings as the Pentateuch. What, then, may this important knowledge be? It consists, I suggest, of the plan, the mode and the ultimate outworking of those procedures of Nature whereby Universes, Solar Systems, planets and their inhabitants, have come into existence. Such enlightenment, when possessed and applied to life, provides guidance for every individual human being, directing him in the conduct of his own life, in his relationships with his fellows, and in that willing and intelligent participation in Nature’s grand design which is the true assurance of health and happiness.
This ancient wisdom is clearly more needed today than ever before throughout world history. Those who feel moved to seek such knowledge, both for their own illumination and happiness and in order to be effective servants of their fellows, may find themselves prepared to travel with me through portions of the allegorical and symbolical literature of the wise and well-informed authors of World Scriptures.
In the following pages I offer the fruits of my own attempts to delve into the Books of the Old Testament in search of truths that I believe to be timeless and which, if applied, could profoundly affect those living in this present war-threatened, and actually war-torn, age in which man possesses the power of self-extermination.
THE LANGUAGE OF ALLEGORY AND SYMBOL
PROBLEMS ARISING FROM A LITERAL READING OF THE BIBLE, AND SOME SOLUTIONS
Singe 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 literature 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.
THE VEIL OF ALLEGORY
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 made 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.
TIME AS MIRROR OF ETERNITY
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 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 winch 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 on 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.
“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.
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 bom 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 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 everything 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 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 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 ins 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 significane of the story itself and of the numbers introduced into it will be considered at the appropriate place in the text.
“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.
“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.
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.
Furthermore, 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 (Aik. 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, when 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 supersitions 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 persona 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 of incredibility, incongruity, absurdity, inconsequence, fantasy, and even horror. The previously quoted words of Moses Mai- monedes, the Jewish theologian and historian, may perhaps usefully be here repeated: “Every time you find in ovir 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 Zoha 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 saying 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-Ghristlike 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 perform ed 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 world shall keep it unto life eternal”, and “....Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and 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 Jig tree, but also 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 within 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 Sharlra (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 worlds 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 Macrocosmic 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 the 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 ofsubjective 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 of 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 conciousness 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 and 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 enter 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 seen, 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 earthy 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, and 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 on 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 self-separateness. 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 alone, 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 Biblical 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 alternations 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 mortal 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 the 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 Caiaphas, 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 (setup), 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 alternations of creative activity or “day” and quiescence or “night” hese 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 bread 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 may be 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 of 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.
INTERPRETATIONS OF TWO PASSAGES FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS
The following advance interpretations of portions of the Book of Genesis are here offered in the hope that they may fulfill at least three purposes. One of these is to prepare the reader for the more detailed study of the same passages which will follow later in this book. The second is to give typical instances of the concealment and revelation of truth by means of allegory and symbol, whilst the third is to provide examples of classical methods of interpretation.
THE STORY OF ESAU, JACOB AND THE BIRTHRIGHT; A MACROCOSMIC INTERPRETATION
THE description, of the birth and subsequent actions of the twins Esau and Jacob, as related in the Twenty-fifth Chapter of Genesis, is of especial interest to the student of symbology, whilst as an allegory of Cosmogenesis it is of added significance. Esau came forth first, was red and hairy, and became “a man of the field”. Jacob followed, holding on to Esau’s heel, and “was a plain man, dwelling in tents”. Esau, a skillful hunter—an often used symbol for divine power—represents the masculine potency in all creative processes, and Jacob the feminine. Esau is therefore rightly bom first, since he personifies the primary activity in the cosmic creative process, the positive action of the Spirit of God or the Great Breath. Red, as a primary colour, also represents masculinity and the positive pole. The hairs on the skin, like the feathers on the wings of goddesses as portrayed in Egyptian and other religious art, represent the outraying, forthshining powers, the superabundance of the creative energy of the Logos.
The feminine or negative pole is attracted into union with this power, and so at his birth Jacob, as personifying the receptive, conveying and re-expressing principle in Cosmos, reaches out towards the heel of Esau. The narrative thus symbolically describes electro-magnetic laws, as do later portions of the story which deal with incidents in the lives of the twins.
When the two boys have grown up Jacob, by means of deceit, receives the birthright of Esau, and in this also the analogy is exact; for the feminine matrix—pre-cosmic matter—receives the masculine, creative, birth-produ- cing power, pre-cosmic Spirit. This natural procedure is also referred to allegorically in the account of the exoterically reprehensible deception practised by Rebekah and Jacob upon the blind and dying Isaac; for again it is Jacob who receives the patriarchal blessing and a promise of fecundity and multiplicity of seed. Esau, though chosen by his father as the recipient of this inheritance, is tricked, receives but a secondary blessing, and is made the servant of his more fortunate brother.
As in so many Biblical passages, a literal reading is here quite unacceptable, even repellant. The Bible, however, contains many such blinds. The recorded deliberate deceits with which the pages of the Pentateuch are disfigured are also susceptible of symbolic interpretation. The actions of both Abraham and Jacob in passing off their wives to Pharaoh as their sisters are, in terms of modern morality, peculiarly unpleasant examples of such deceitfulness for personal gain. This may be a blind, however, and these recorded experiences, events and human actions may similarly be read not only in their literal sense, but also as vehicles for concealed truths.
In the particular story we are at present considering, an account of wickedness being rewarded by favours may be read as a hint to look for an intended inner meaning, full knowledge of which bestows theurgic powers. Despite the unhappy ending of the allegory Esau remains the true heir, the creative Principle being ever unbound, ever free. Symbolically, Esau is “a man of the field”, or open country. He thus personifies the masculine current of the triple creative power, the positive pole of electro-magnetic phenomena, Spirit in relation to matter and sperm in relation to ovum. The great Passive (Jacob), the feminine, negative polarity—primordial substance or (mat…) (MiilaPrakriti)—is, however, the actual receptacle, conserver and (t..usmitter) of the emitted creative power or Great Breath (Purusha).
This triplicity or trinity of creative powers is thus clearly portrayed in the remarkable imagery of the birth of the twins, which initiates the new dispensation. Esau portrays positive power, Jacob represents receptive, differentiated substance and their mother, Rebekah, the original, pre-cosmic matter, particularly that which had been employed in the preceding cycle of activity. The three are correctly linked together, for Jacob holds the heel of Esau while he himself is still partly within Rebekah’s womb. With the father, Isaac, they constitute a quaternary. Isaac is the primordial propulsive agent, the Breather, the Speaker of the “Word”, the Primary Emitter of the creative power in abscondito. When once the spiritual, creative energy is emanated, this primary agent is correctly represented by the absent Isaac.
After repeating Abraham’s journeys, his experiences at wells and with the Philistines, Isaac grows old and becomes wealthy in his later years. The story of his subterfuge in passing his wife off as his sister, for fear of death and in the hope of gain, is another example of the use of a literary blind or cover. The narrative may be interpreted in precisely the same manner as was the similar conduct of his father, Abraham.The universal law of ever-recurring cycles is indicated by such repetitions.
The fulfillment of the life, the old age and the death of central figures refer more especially to the culmination of the returning arc of a cycle and also those of successions of cycles. Evolving life, ascending by a spiral path, arrives over the same point reached in preceding rounds and then passes through similar experiences, performs the identical functions, resorts to the same apparent artifices, all with equally beneficent results.
Such is the method of teaching used by the ancient writers. All cycles of involution and evolution, major and minor, follow spiral paths and so are repetitions of their predecessors, but in a more advanced phase. The fundamental principles, allegorised in the Sacred Language as events, remain unchanged. In consequence the attainment of old age, riches and patriarchal power—meaning the creative impulse and the fruits of its exercise— must be followed by their transmission to the next cycle and its presiding genius.
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
THE STORY OF JOSEPH, HIS COAT OF MANY COLOURS AND HIS DESCENT INTO THE PIT
Joseph himself may be interpreted from three points of view, namely, as a personification of: (a) the conscious life of a Universe (Macrocosm), (b) the highly evolved spiritual Soul or immortal Ego of man (microcosm), and (c) an Initiate of the Greater Mysteries.
At the formation of a new Universe its divine Architect first marks or circumscribes the area in the virginal, unparticied, precosmic space in which the Universe is to appear. He then projects an atom-forming energy which differentiates the enclosed matter from undifferentiated Space. This process is carried out by the Holy Spirit, the third Aspect of the Trinity, the creative Mind, which is the Source and Director of the atom-forming electrical energies.
From the same divine Source—the threefold, active Deity—the all-pre- serving and vitalising life-force of the Second Aspect enters the prepared universal field. This outpoured life of God is personified by Joseph. It enters the newly projected Universe in its most spiritualised, tenuous condition (conception), gradually becomes more fully incarnate (Joseph’s birth), and later is imprisoned (his adulthood) in matter of gradually deepening density (Joseph is lowered into the pit). This process of forthgoing thus culminates in incarnation in solid substance—earth and all that is of the earth, including the densest, hardest metals and jewels, an imprisonment indeed.
Joseph personifies the forthgoing life of God, and the authors of the Pentateuch recount the sending forth of Joseph by his father, Jacob, into the field as an allegory of entry into a region of creative activity. Out in the field Joseph is rightly wearing a coat of many colours; for when the one life becomes manifested in innumerable forms its white light is broken up into the many hues of the spectrum. Shelley, in his poem “Adonais”, thus expresses this idea:
“Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity.”
Unity has become displaced by diversity. As the path of forthgoing is entered upon, the one becomes the many, a fundamental fact which is allegorically portrayed by the action of Joseph’s father, Jacob, in robing his son in a coat of many colours.
JOSEPH’S BRETHREN SEE THE COAT AND ARE ENVIOUS
The descent of the life of the Logos from the highest spiritual level to the densest material encasement is typified by Joseph’s departure from home. Its embodiment in the myriad forms of Nature, superphysical and physical, is assisted by Ministers of the Supreme Deity, first fruits of preceding Universes (Elohim), who fulfil a major role during the forthgoing of the one life into matter (Joseph goes out into the field and later is lowered into the pit). The older brothers of Joseph personify these high Intelligences, Themselves manifesting in the superphysical realms of Nature and dwelling amidst the life of the Cosmos and its associated forces. Appropriately, Joseph’s brothers carry out their function from above the pit and so, Elohim-like, do not themselves go down into it.
These same procedures are allegorically described in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, in which corresponding cosmogonical procedures are revealed. In that story the elder son is stated to be jealous of his younger brother. Similarly the brothers of Joseph are presented as being envious of the youngest member of the family. As already stated, this may legitimately be regarded as a deliberate blind used in order to conceal, and yet reveal, power-bestowing knowledge concerning the mystery of forth-going, of the descent of the divine life and of the Monads of men into the “tomb” of matter, as also of the divine Intelligences associated with that descent. The action of the brothers in forcibly lowering Joseph into a pit after they had taken off his coat of many colours, does, however, aptly portray by allegory the function of the Order of Intelligences involved in the forthgoing or involution of life. The revelation particularly applies to those members of that Order who bring about the manifestation of life at the densest physical level (the pit). In one of his aspects Satan is a symbolic personification of these Beings who thus imprison life in matter, and are sometimes referred to as the Satanic Hierarchy.
James Stephens, the Irish poet, expresses this profoundly occult idea in his poem, “Fullness of Time”:—
“On a rustly iron throne,
Past the 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.”
Life incarnate in substance inevitably becomes stained with the taint of matter. In the animal and human kingdoms, sensation and sense-pleasure sully the pure spirituality of the emergent life. They also restrict it by materialising and thereby degrading it. This is portrayed by the brothers of Joseph dipping his coat in animal blood before sending it back to their father with the untrue story of his beloved son’s death. If accepted literally, this is a very unpleasant episode. Thus interpreted, however, it proves to be a revelation of a spiritual law.
In the Sacred Language the final stage of the path of forthgoing is frequently described as the death and burial of a Saviour or a hero, just as entry upon the path of return is portrayed by a Resurrection and Ascension.
If the repetition be pardoned, upto this point the story of Joseph may be read as an allegory descriptive of the forthgoing of the divine life into a Universe in order that the substance and forms thereof might be vitalised, ensouled and preserved. God is said to die in order that His Universe may live. Christ, as the one life, is crucified and buried in the rock tomb, St.John the Divine referring to Him as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.
THE RAISING, THE JOURNEY TO EGYPT AND THE HIGH ATTAINMENT OF JOSEPH
In the cosmic interpretation the Midianite merchants in their turn represent a group of spiritual Intelligences, members of which participate in and assist the evolution of life following its involution, thereby performing a spiritualising function. This is in opposition to that of their “Brothers” (Pitris) who are concerned with the downward arc. These two Orders of Archangels and angels are sometimes portrayed as being at war or as being Satanic and redemptive respectively. The truth, carefully veiled in the allegorical method of revelation, is that the function of each Order is equally important, just as people passing in and out of an enclosure through a turnstile, despite their opposite movements, cause it to rotate in the same direction.
JOSEPH AS PERSONIFICATION OF THE DIVINE SPIRIT IN MAN
The Ageless Wisdom teaches that, in the innermost Essence of his being, man as Monad is pure Spirit, indestructible, eternal, a spark within the one undying Fire which is God. This primordial seed of Deity contains in various degrees of latency all the powers of the parent God-head, which one day will become fully manifest. In the Sacred Language the divine aspect of man’s nature is generally personified by the Supreme Deity, the Lord Who inspires Saviours, Prophets and other central figures.
In order that the seed-like powers innate in the Monad may germinate and develop, a Ray is projected from it into evolutionary fields—Universes, superphysical and physical. This Ray in due course becomes expressed as an immortal, unfolding individuality, a spiritual Soul, a human Ego, which thereafter unfolds its Monadic powers to the degree of Adeptship or perfected manhood, “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.
In this microcosmic interpretation the Ego is personified by Joseph, the Monadic Ray by his father, Jacob, and the Monad itself by the Lord God, Who inspires both. The forthshining of the Ray into the denser fields of matter is dramatically portrayed by Joseph’s departure from home, the loss of his coat of many colours (his aura, which becomes invisible at the physical level) and his imprisonment in the pit. This action also symbolically describes the “descent” of the immortal Ego into human birth.
These procedures are variously represented in the Sacred Language as murders, dismemberments, entombments and burials. Since, however, the inner Self of man is immortal, all such symbolical descents and deaths are followed by ascents and resurrections. Major and minor cycles of manifestation—whether cosmic or human—are, as above stated, portrayed by these forthgoings and returns, descents and ascents, burials and resurrections.
In the human interpretation of great allegorical dramas, various people personify qualities Of character, powers, faculties, weaknesses and defects, the two last-named sometimes being symbolised by sickness, blindness, sleep and death. The twelve children of Jacob typify, for example, Zodiacal attributes present in man from the beginning and ultimately to be fully developed—their father himself having described them in such terms.
When recovery from adversities is said to be miraculously brought about by an inspired Personage, an evolutionary phase is being described in which limitations are outgrown. This is achieved by virtue of an awakened and active divine power within the hitherto unillumined personality. The brothers of Joseph display these defects and are made to feel envy, and even hatred, towards Joseph. They rob him of his coat, for example, and deceive their father by returning it to him blood-stained. Later on they plot to bring about their brother’s death.
In terms of the Sacred Language these brothers microsmically represent the material encasements of the Soul—the mental, emotional, vital and physical bodies with their limitations and shortcomings. They also personify tendencies which materialise bodily consciousness and diminish the degree of the light, power and spirituality of the Monad-Ego manifesting in the personal nature. They display undesirable qualities of character, and thus metaphorically imprison the Soul as in a tomb or pit.
JOSEPH AS CANDIDATE FOR INITIATION AND AS INITIATE
The unfoldment of the human Monad from man to Superman may be delayed, may proceed normally, or may be hastened. Delay arises from deliberate selfishness and self-materialisation in thought, motive and mode of life. Since the evolution of germinal Monadic powers from latency to increasing potency inevitably occurs throughout Manvantara, this process may be regarded as the normal procedure. Hastening, however, is achieved by self-spiritualisation and by service to others. The impulse to embark upon self-quickening, or to tread the Path, arises within a Neophyte when the inner Self has reached a certain degree of development. This is evidenced by the responsiveness and ultimate surrender of the outer personality to purely spiritual influences. The decision to find and tread “The way of holiness” is thus perfectly natural, because inwardly inspired.
As a youth Joseph typifies a spiritual Neophyte, wnilst his adventures, including his disasters and triumphs, allegorically portray difficulties encountered and successes achieved by those who enter in at “the strait gate” and tread the narrow way. The tests, ordeals, victories and rapid unfoldment of many faculties and powers are also described allegorically in the narrative. Progressive stages in the story of the life of a Saviour or hero portray expansions of consciousness associated with passage through the five great Initiations, culminating in Adeptship at the Fifth.
This method of revelation of the inner life of those who tread “the Ancient Way” is also exemplified by the action of placing Joseph in a dark pit, or out of the sight of normal passers-by. Reference is thus made to Rites of Initiation in olden days in which, in secret Halls of Initiation, Candidates were deprived of physical consciousness and laid either upon a cross or in a sarcophagus within a Temple or crypt. This was dark to the Candidate because he was physically unconscious, having been plunged into an Initiatory trance. Three days and three nights then passed, and during this period the spiritual Self entered into full realisation of oneness with the divine life within all Nature, knowing itself to be identical with that life. At the end of this period the Ego re-entered the body, which then awakened to the light of day. Thus Joseph is raised from the dark pit and restored to the blessing of light. As a result of this experience the Initiate was as one reborn, renewed, and is sometimes referred to as being born again or “twice born In allegorical literature all Nativities of Saviours and heroes are susceptible of similar interpretation.
The resistance of the substances of which man’s mental, emotional and physical bodies are built, and of the involving consciousness within those substances, the despiritualising effects of undesirable habits and the difficulties of adverse karma—all these create obstacles and cause sufferings on the Path of Swift Unfoldment which, in consequence, is sometimes referred to as “the Way of the Cross”. In the Joseph story these adverse influences are portrayed by his attempted seduction by Potiphar’s wife, and by the several misfortunes which followed. Joseph’s interpretation of dreams, his rise to power as Grand Vizier of Egypt and his death in great honour—all these portray degrees of development, powers attained, and the Initiate’s final triumph when he becomes an Adept.
Such are three possible readings of the life story of Joseph— Macrocosinic, microcosmic and Initiatory.
ISAAC, REBEKAH, ESAU AND JACOB
Since some of the concepts of the cosmogony of occult philosophy are included in the interpretations of the life stories of Abraham’s sons and grandsons which now follow, a brief statement of them may prove helpful, especially to those contacting these ideas for the first time.
Basic amongst such concepts is an idea with which a member of the Christian Faith and a reader of the Bible is likely to be completely unfamiliar. I therefore advance it at this point. This idea is that of the eternity of the Universe as a whole, within which numberless Universes incessantly manifest and disappear. Madame Blavatsky states this as follows:
“ Our ‘Universe’ (the Solar System) is only one of an infinite number of Universes, all of them ‘Sons of Necessity’, because links in the great cosmic chain of Universes, each one standing in the relation of an effect as regards the predecessor and of a cause as regards its successor.”
If this be accepted then the Universe, the creation of which is described in the Book of Genesis, was not an entirely new and single production. Rather is it to be regarded in the terms of occult philosophy as one in a succession of such Universes, and not one created alone and forever.
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 dark¬ness 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 and Manvantara (ordered manifestation) 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 incon¬ceivable, 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 formless 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 polarised 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 focused into a “Being”, Who is beyond normal human comprehen¬sion. 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 begin¬ning, when newly formed, the First, the One Alone, is purely spiritual and intellectual. Ultimately, as we have seen, It becomes manifested as the presiding Power, Life and Intelligence transcendent beyond all that objec¬tively exists, and also as 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.
THE BIRTH OF ESAU AND JACOB
The second Volume of this work brought the study of the Book of Genesis to the narrative of the death and burial of Abraham, as described in verses eight and nine of the Twenty-fifth Chapter:
8. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
9. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre.
The life stories of Abraham’s sons and grandsons now receive consideration, interpretations being offered in accordance with the principles expounded in Part One of this book.
The subject-matter of the present Volume includes divine and patriar¬chal successions; Cosmogenesis; the operation of the law of major and minor cycles with their component arcs of forthgoing and return; immaculate conception; the law of correspondences; the four basic elements of earth, air, fire and water; famine and plenty; wells; members of families as personifications of laws, processes and successions in Nature, as also of qualities of human character; and “The way of holiness” leading to discipleship, Initiation and Adeptship. This last is more especially accentuated in the interpretations offered of the life of Joseph with which the Volume closes.
20. And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
21. And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
23. 23 q.v. Vol. I of this work, Pt. Six.
24. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
25. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
26. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
27. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was three score years old when she bare them.
28. And the boys grew and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
29. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
30. And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint.
31. And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
32. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
33. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
34. And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
35. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils: and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
JACOB BORN HOLDING ESAU’S HEEL
The symbology of human generation and maternity is, I suggest, here employed to portray cosmic creative processes. Conception by the parents corresponds to the first modification in pre-cosmic Ideation, the forming or arising in the Universal Mind of the concept of a Universe, and its primary effect as a differentiation of pre-cosmic Space. This is generally fore¬shadowed by the first faint stirrings in hitherto quiescent, pre-cosmic Mind—the germ from which emanates thought-imbued creative impulses, after which the generative process continues according to eternal Law.
This emanation of the divine “Idea” is, in literature written in the Sacred Language symbolised severally by the “Voice” or “Word” of God (Logos), by visitations and promises of fertility made by God, or by Angelic Annunciations of coming conceptions. Before this extremely remote, highly spiritualised transition from creative quiescence to the first tremor of creative activity occurs, the matter side of Spirit, also quiescent and undifferentiated, is non-productive— “....darkness was upon the face of the deep.” This is indicated by the preceding barrenness or virginity of concubine or wife—in the present case Rebekah. Hitherto quiescent, non-manifested, equipolarised, utterly unified Spirit-matter continues to function as a unit, even after the first modification of the one (Spirit) and differentiation of the other (matter) have occurred. In consequence, creative activity is simultaneous and so continues in the first cycle, symbolised by the life of the embryo in utero.
This highly metaphysical truth is beautifully and skilfully portrayed in this part of the story of Isaac and Rebekah, first in the conception of twins by the hitherto barren Rebekah, and secondly by the carefully recorded phenomenon that they emerged still united, with Jacob’s hand grasping Esau’s heel. Nevertheless they emerge in the correct order. Spirit, as Esau, leads and matter, as Jacob, follows. The unity in duality and duality in unity of Spirit-matter is thus indicated by their joint masculinity. The functional separation of Spirit from matter which follow's is indicated by the separated existence of the two infants, and by their markedly different appearance, character and mode of life.
That Jacob represents the productive side of Nature is at once indicated in the quaintly worded English sentence: “Jacob sod (seethed or cooked) pottage.” This implies the production of Nature’s forms from natural elements. More precisely, there is indicated the production of the subse¬quent states of matter, or tattvas, of the seven planes of Nature from protyle or Adi-tattva. Thus the combined life of Esau and Jacob in utero and their contact at birth via heel and hand have constituted a creative union and interaction, the result of which is Nature herself, produced by the matter side of the duality and symbolised by the pottage which Jacob made.
Isaac’s wedding occurred in his fortieth year and the birth of the twins, Esau and Jacob, when he was sixty years old. Indications are found in ancient literature of a development which gave to numbers their real significance, and employed them in a system of symbolism which referred to something more than enumeration alone. Each number is regarded as possessing a certain power not expressed by the figure or symbol, which is employed to denote quantity only. This power rests in an occult connection existing between the relations of things and the principles in Nature of which they are the expressions. According to this system of numerical symbology the number 4 refers to the personal nature, the lower quaternary- mind, emotion, vitality and flesh—as yet unmarried or not consciously united with the threefold Higher Self, in its turn indicated by the number 3. The resultant number 7 refers to the fusion of the Higher Triad and the lower quaternary in man, accompanied by the fully conscious experience of spiritual awareness—sometimes described as the “heavenly marriage”.
Esau and Jacob are the first twins whose birth is recorded in the Bible, and they and their subsequent history are of profound occult significance. Esau, as has already been noted, was born first and he was red and hairy. Jacob followed, holding on to Esau’s heel.
THE HEEL IN SYMBOLISM
In the Sacred Language the heel symbolises the point of creative contact between Spirit and matter, just as in man it is the place on his body which first touches the earth when he stands erect and from which he acquires the necessary contact and the leverage when he walks. For this, as for all generative processes, a price must be paid. Spirit is inevitably stained by contact with matter, and life loses freedom when in contact with form. Consciousness, manifesting through concrete mind and brain, sacrifices a measure of its universality and its capacity for abstract realisation and generalisation. This loss (vulnerability) of immortality by Spirit is portrayed in the allegory of Achilles. In the story of Esau and Jacob, however, the closing of a circuit and the conveyance of the electrical, creative force from positive to negative is also indicated.
The winged heel of Mercury symbolises the regaining of all temporarily surrendered powers on the later stages of the upward arc. In man the recovery of Egoic consciousness attained at the First Initiation is implied by the possession of winged heels. A price must, however, be paid for fully self-conscious enjoyment of divine powers. This price is symbolised by the loss of one shoe, or the uncovered heel, which makes the body vulnerable but which also provides primary contact with Mother Earth. Thus Esau (Spirit) comes in contact with Jacob (matter) by the heel, and Jacob (matter) comes in contact with Esau (Spirit) through the hand. In these various ways the first phase of the creative process, Macrocosmic and microcosmic, is described in the Book of Genesis.
ESAU RED AND HAIRY
The statements in verses twenty-five and twenty-six that at the birth of the twins Esau came forth first and was red and hairy, and Jacob followed holding on to Esau’s heel, are not without possible occult significance. Esau became a man of the country and Jacob a man of the town, or a dweller in tents. As already stated, Esau represents the masculine potency in all creative processes and Jacob the feminine. Esau is therefore born first, is first “breathed out” by the Great Breath. Red as a primary colour represents masculinity, power, the positive pole. The hairs on the skin, like the feathers on the wings of goddesses in Egypt, represent the outraying, forthshining powers, the superabundance of the creative energy. To this, when manifested, the feminine or negative pole is ever attracted into union. Thus at their birth Jacob, as the material receptacle conveying and re¬expressing spiritual principles, reaches out towards and holds the heel of Esau. Jacob thus personifies the receptive and transmitting vehicle of the creative energy which receives and conveys to the physical world the fuhatic power, which is also symbolised by the birthright or birthing power which Jacob received from Esau.
ESAU’S BIRTHRIGHT AND JACOB’S POTTAGE
Whilst the possibility is not overlooked that the whole narrative was intended to record actual facts in the history of the people concerned, and that such items as Esau’s faintness and the bargain between the brothers were included because they were part of that history, an esoteric inter¬pretation of the whole story as an allegory concealing occult truths cannot in the author’s opinion be wholly discounted, and is therefore now presented.
Just as sunlight is dependent upon a medium of transmission, such as the postulated ether, and electricity is dependent for its conveyance upon a conductor, so also both creative will-force and spiritual will are dependent for their physical expression upon the life principle in matter and the vehicles of wisdom and emotion in man. Since knowledge of these laws is of great importance in thaumaturgical and alchemical processes, it is concealed under the veil of a strange allegory, which is that of Esau’s action, when faint, of selling his birthright for Jacob’s pottage.
The whole story, with its suggestion of despicable surrender, (which is a blind), portrays the entry of the masculine potency (Purusha-Fohal)—the pottage—into the feminine creative potency (Prakriti)—Jacob. In man the microcosm, the fiery “descent” is portrayed of the pure Spirit- Essence Alina, which is the core of existence. This power rays forth from the Monad (Esau) into the individuality, thence to the personality (Jacob). The faintness of Esau which supposedly led to the sale of his birthright, represents the interdependency of Spirit and matter, and partic-ularly the impotence of the former bereft of the latter. Microcosmically, the faintness of Esau indicates the dependence of Atma upon a vehicle (Buddhi), for without that vehicle the Monad cannot be manifest as pure wisdom. Symbolically it is “faint” for that which the vehicle alone can supply, namely a means of transition and self-expression (birthright). The intimate interchange (bargain) between the brothers indicates that an evolutionary phase had been reached at which the life principles in man, the emotional and intuitive natures, had become sufficiently developed to serve as a means for the transition of the fiery power of Alma throughout the whole man. Jacob’s pottage may be interpreted as the inherent capacity of the Buddhic Principle to serve as vehicle for the Atma, which in this sense receives it and in consequence loses its hitherto separate, original, inherent capacity or “birthright”. Thus the underlying principles of the creative process are revealed in a skilfully composed allegory which contains the blind of an apparent surrender under the duress of exhaustion.
Jacob, as we have seen, receives the birthright of the fainting Esau. The material, femine matrix receives the spiritual, masculine, birth-produc¬ing power. Similarly, later in the exoterically reprehensible deception practised by Rebekah and Jacob upon the blind and dying father, Isaac, it is Jacob who receives the patriarchal blessing and promise of fecundity and multiplicity of seed. Esau, though first chosen by his father as the recipient of this inheritance, is tricked and receives but a secondary blessing and is made the servant of his more fortunate brother. The Bible in its literal reading is full of these blinds in which wickedness is rewarded by favours, each of them being—esoterically—a clue to an underlying meaning.
One possible interpretation is that, Macrocosmically, matter (Jacob) receives the creative power of Spirit (the birthright from Isaac) in order that Nature’s forms (Jacob’s family) may be produced. In the microcosm the full expression of spiritual will-force (the birthright) is dependent upon the availability of intuitive wisdom as a vehicle. Thereafter, and only then, can a power-endowed human being come into existence. When in the course of evolution, whether natural or hastened, Nature produces a mortal man thus illumined and thus equipped with a vehicle for his will-force, then the power of the Cosmos is at that man’s disposal and can be used either bene¬ficently or adversely—hence the necessity for a blind.
GOD’S PROMISE TO ISAAC
Gen. 26: Isaac because of famine goeth to Gerar: God appeareth to him at Beer-sheba, and blesseth him. Abimelech’s covenant within. Esau’s wives.
1. And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
2. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
3. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
4. And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
5. Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
6. And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
7. And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
8. And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.
9. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
10. And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.
11. And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
12. Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundred fold: and the LORD blessed him.
13. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great.
14. For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistiness envied him.
Support for a symbolical reading of the Bible is gained by comparison of the promises of perpetual prosperity and divine protection made by God to Abraham 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.
Chapter Twenty-six of Genesis interrupts the story of Esau and Jacob by continuing that of Isaac, who is made to pass through experiences so similar to those at the corresponding phase of the life of his father, Abraham, that the same interpretations may be exactly applied. As already stated, these repetitions indicate the operation of the one Law under which all creative processes occur, and that this Law unfailingly rules all such activities of whatever degree from Cosmoi, Galaxies and Universes to cells, molecules, and atoms.
After repeating Abraham’s journeys, his experiences with the Philistines concerning wells, and his subterfuge of passing off his wife as his sister for fear of death, Isaac grows old and very wealthy in his old age. All this maybe interpreted precisely as in his father’s story, of which it is a repetition, and need not be further considered here. Cyclic law is indicated and that ascent by a spiral path, travelling which evolving life arrives over the same point reached in preceding rounds. Thereat it passes through identical experiences, performs similar functions, and resorts to the same artifices: with similar but greater and more beneficent results, for evolution though cyclic is not an eddy, but a spiral ascent.
THE PRINCIPLE OF PATRIARCHAL SUCCESSION
All cycles, major and minor, are repetitions of their predecessors but on a higher scale and in a more advanced phase, the fundamental principles, allegorised as successive events, remaining unchanged. In consequence there must always follow the attainment of old age and riches and the hand¬ing on of Patriarchal power, meaning the creative impulse and the fruits of its exercise, on to the next cycle through its presiding genius, of whatever degree.
The most enduring attribute of the impermanent aspects of Universes in which evolution through successive cycles of manifestation occurs consists of the passage of life and its products from one cycle of activity to the next. Seasons follow each other in seemingly interminable sequence. Throughout them all Nature conveys both her invisible life, and the refined essence of all which she produces, from one season to the next and from one age to another. The transmission of life and of harvested fruits continues throughout all ages as an unchanging and fundamental phenomenon. As long as Nature’s processes continue, seed as a principle is immortal and indestructible. The seed which is the innermost Soul of man, the Monad, is similarly immortal and indestructible. From life on Earth to life after death, and on into succeeding lives, the Seed-Self (Monad) with its divine attributes, both inherent and developed, is transferred from cycle to cycle of existence throughout long ages.
This process continues until Adeptship is attained, bringing freedom from the “wheel of birth and death”. The Monad, whilst still obedient to the law of cyclic unfoldment, is no longer obliged to submit to the limitations of embodiment in physical matter. This principle of transference is revealed in the Old Testament by means of historical metaphors descriptive of Patriar¬chal succession. For example, Patriarchs, Prophets, Judges and Kings, superior in stature to those whose lives they direct, transmit their power and their wisdom to a chosen successor. A fundamental and universal principle is thus mirrored forth by the writers responsible for the allegorical portions of the Scriptures of the world.
In the Mystery Schools of ancient peoples, as in certain of their modern ceremonial survivals, this principle was revealed by means of symbolical dramas. One of these consisted of the ritual transmission of Hierophantship or Headship from one reigning Official to his successor. A ceremony which included physical contact, as by the clasp of a hand and a whispered Word of Power, brought this about. When Elijah was carried up to Heaven in a chariot of fire, for example, his mantle fell upon Elisha, his appointed and duly installed Successor.
Thus a universal principle is revealed. The Hierophant of a Mystery Temple, endowed with spiritual power and trained to wield it to help Initiates to resurrect themselves from the tomb of the flesh, eventually reaches the end of his period of Office. Thereupon another Officient, carefully prepared and trained, receives the Word of Power, is vested with the mantle of authority and is duly installed in that Chair or Throne from which, during his term of Office, he in turn will preside over the activities of Sanctuary and Temple.
ISAAC, ESAU AND JACOB PERSONIFY COSMIC GENERATIVE POWERS
This procedure was evidently followed in the transmission of the leadership of the Israelites from Isaac to Jacob. The narrative is, however, susceptible of interpretation as a description, under a pseudo-historical veil, of both the emanation of primordial will-thought into pre-cosmic matter and the manifestation of the self-same power in the human individual. Esau, despite the unhappy ending of the allegory, remains the true heir; for the positive, creative Principle is ever unbound, ever free or, symbolically, “a man of the field” (v:24). This Principle is Purusha-Fohat or Isaac- Esau, and especially the positive current of the triple Fohat and the positive pole of electro-magnetic phenomena, Spirit in relation to matter, sperm in relation to ovum.
The great Passive, the feminine, negative polarity which is known as substance or matter is, however, the actual receptacle of the emitted purushic Breath. Esau is the first emission or first-born (Fohat), which is the bridge or link between Spirit and matter, husband and wife, positive and negative. This triplicity is clearly portrayed in the remarkable imagery of the birth of the twins, which means the new dispensation; for Isaac is Purusha, Esau is Fohat, Jacob is the differentiated substance and recipient in the new cycle, whilst Rebekah is original Prakriti, and particularly that which was employed in the predecessor. Therefore, as has previously been suggested, the three are linked together, as Jacob is holding on to the heel of Esau while he himself is still partly within the womb of Rebekah.
The three make a unit with the father, Isaac, as the propulsive agent, the Breather, the Speaker of the “Word ”, the primary Emitter of the creative power in abscondito; for when once the energy is emitted this primary Agent is correctly represented by the absent Isaac.
THE TRANSMISSION OF THE FRUITAGE OF THE PAST TO FUTURE HUMAN INCARNATIONS
Applied to man, Isaac is the Monad and Rebekah is the higher Manasic Principle, the Causal Body, vehicle of the Triple Self at the level of the abstract intellect. Esau is the Attnic ray and Jacob is the Buddhi-to-be. In terms of successive physical incarnations Isaac is the Monad-Ego and
Rebekah is the life-ensouled matter of the concrete mental and the physical worlds. Esau is both the projected Egoic ray and the physical spermata- zoon, whilst Jacob is the life Principle of the whole personality.
In terms of cycles of physical incarnation Isaac is the Ego enriched by the fruits of a single life. Rebekah and Esau represent the sum total of one life cycle, whilst Jacob stands for its successor into which the fruits of the former—the patriarchal riches and blessing—are transmitted. Esau more especially personifies these fruits or products of one life which are handed on to the next. Thus Esau appears to lose both his birth-right and his inheritance in favour of his younger brother, Jacob. The complete revela¬tion is that of eternal progression, conservation, re-transmission and reincarnation, which together constitute a universal law.
15. For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filed them with earth.
16. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.
17. And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.
18. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
19. And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
WELLS AND THE DIGGING OF WELLS
In its primary interpretation, the digging of wells suggests the effect of the “Breath” of the Logos upon universal substance, which is to render it first atomic and then molecular. This process constitutes the essential preparation of matter for the production of forms. In this portion of the Book of Genesis it is therefore made to occur towards the end of one dispen¬sation and at the beginning of its successor. Abraham digs wells and Isaac follows the same custom. The filling in of the wells by the Philistines and their later re-opening by the Israelites may be taken to refer to the natural resistance of matter (the Philistines) to the work of Spirit on the one hand, and on the other to the fact that this work must perforce be repeated in all successive cycles, Macrocosmic and microcosmic.
In the universal sense water is a symbol for both the matter of space and the sustaining life by which all forms are preserved. As a well holds the supply of water which is essential to physical existence, it may aptly be regarded as a representation of the containing vehicle for the spiritual “waters of life The earth itself, and particularly the country or field where the well is dug, in its turn represents pre-cosmic matter in which, when once the process of emanation has begun, Spirit creatively “digs holes” or sets up whirlpools, which in occult philosophy are regarded as the first, the primordial, atoms. The Source of the outpoured (well-digging) life-force is within the creative Logos, Who thus is Himself a well-spring of life.
20. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is our's: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.
21. And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.
22. And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
23. And he went up from thence to Beer-sheba.
24. And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake.
25. And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well.
26. Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
27. And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
28. And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee.
29. That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.
30. And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.
31. And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
32. And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water.
33. And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beer- sheba unto this day.
34. And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.
35. Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
At first the herdsmen of Gerar and of Isaac were at enmity with each other, but eventually they became reconciled. In this apparently simple account of the experiences of small wandering tribes of long ago may be discerned references to the primordial conflict between form-producing and life-giving Spirit on the one hand, and on the other the relatively inert and resistant substance of which the forms are to be built. This applies both to Cosmogenesis and to the earlier relationship between the innermost Spirit of man and the resistant matter of which the vehicles of the human Monad are built.
Such warfare—as it appears to be on the outer plane—whilst incessant in the early periods of the emanation of Universes, and in people who are passing through primitive evolutionary phases, does not continue, however. As the allegory shows, peace is eventually established between the erstwhile combatants. One reason for this is hinted at in verse Twenty-eight, wherein the enemies of Isaac confess that they now recognise him as an agent of security, saying: “....We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee”. Translated into terms descriptive of the results of the age-long evolutionary process, matter in general becomes obedient to Spirit, and the hitherto hostile tendencies in the mortal man become transformed and brought into mutual collaboration with—and eventual submission to—the Spirit-Self, the human Monad.
Thus read, a practical application of this knowledge emerges; for what may appear on the surface to be a simple story telling of the experiences of nomadic peoples is seen to be replete with knowledge. Understood and applied, this knowledge explains those evil tendencies in man from which his sorrows arise, and the way of that sorrow’s ending—namely, surrender by the mortal man (personified by the herdsman of Gerar) to his divine and immortal Self (the herdsmen of Isaac).
Whilst the feasting which followed upon reconciliation would be regard¬ed as a natural sequence, especially in those days, the feast is also recognisable as a symbol of the inner harmony and refreshment which follow the reali¬sation of spiritual oneness. The mutual pledges, the further digging of wells (deeper realisation of wisdom) and the naming of the place (level of consciousness) where harmony was established and unity experienced— particularly the last-named—refer to the permanence of the achievement. “Naming”, in the allegorical language, implies full recognition of the expansion of consciousness which has been attained; for naming indicates the bestowal of individuality throughout a particular phase of spiritual unfoldment.
Verses Thirty-four and Thirty-five, like so many others, may be purely historical. Nevertheless the number four obtained from Esau’s age of forty suggests the firm establishment, in the formal mind of the mortal man, of the power and knowledge attained in the higher consciousness. If the analogy be not over-stressed, then the two wives could represent the emo¬tional and physcial parts of the personality, whilst marriage could indicate a fusion of these three principles—mind, emotion and body—with the incarnated spiritual Self.
JACOB IS BLESSED BY ISAAC
Gen. 27: Isaac sendeth Esau for venison. Jacob, instructed by Rebekah, obtaineth the blessing: Esau's complaint; he threateneth Jacob's life. Rebekah sendeth Jacob to Laban.
1. And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.
2. And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death.
3. Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;
4. And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
ISAAC AND REBEKAH, ESAU AND JACOB, PERSONIFY SPIRIT AND MATTER IN COSMOGENESIS
The particular creative impulse by which the given cycle was initiated and sustained has now found its full expression. The process of its with¬drawal and the onset of Pralaya are indicated in the old age of Isaac and his growing blindness. Sublimation to spiritual levels occurs in the later phases of all cycles. The intellectual attention, symbolised by eyesight, is being withdrawn from the lower worlds and from objective manifestation and centred in the higher and subjective states. Symbolically, but in no sense actually, the spiritual impulse, personified by Isaac, becomes “aged and increasingly blind”.
Esau, representing the creative impulse and energy, is the first to be affected by this approach of the close of the cycle. Allegorically, he is sent for and informed by his father of the latter’s imminent death. The instruction to go out into the field, kill a deer by means of archery, bring it back, make it into venison and deliver it as food to the Patriarch, describes the process of withdrawal of consciousness from the field of manifestation.
In a human interpretation, in which the old age of Isaac and his approaching death refer to the decease of the physical body, the deer as a quadruped represents the fruits harvested by the spiritual Self as a result of life in the four lower planes of the objective Universe and the four mortal bodies of man. These fruits are withdrawn in a sublimated condition in order that they may become transmuted into terms of consciousness and power, and so be assimilated. This sublimation is indicated by the death of the body of the deer, the passing of the flesh through fire in cooking, and its delivery to the original Source.
JACOB, INSTRUCTED BY REBEKAH, OBTAINETH THE BLESSING
Since this Chapter of the Book of Genesis is a long one, in order to save space the verses themselves are not here printed, but the following main incidents in the narrative receive consideration: Isaac’s promise of a paternal blessing; Rebekah, having overheard, plots to replace Isaac’s favourite son, Esau, with her own favourite, Jacob; the methods whereby the deception is successfully practised, including dressing Jacob in Esau’s clothing, putting the skins of goats upon his hands and the smooth of his neck, and preparing and giving to Jacob savoury meat and bread; Jacob’s presentation of this food to his father and his untruthful affirmation that he was, in fact, his brother Esau; the success of the deceit despite Isaac’s doubts; the bestowal of the blessing and promise of leadership of the nations; and the exposure of the deceit, with its troubling effect upon both father and eldest son.
The love of Isaac for Esau and of Rebekah for Jacob, earlier referred to, also indicates electro-magnetic laws. The formative electrical energy (Fohat), personified by Esau, emanates from the Source (Purusha), personified by Isaac, and later returns to the Source—symbolically is loved by it. Isaac wishes to bless and bestow his wealth upon Esau. Jacob, representing matter, the receptacle and producer of a succeeding cycle, emanates from the substance of the preceding cycle (Rebekah), to which he will return. Symbolically, Rebekah loves Jacob and is prepared to go to any lengths, even to deception, on his behalf. The opposite polarities are thus thrown into sharp and clear distinction, and the various feelings and activities of their personifications are explained once the symbolical method of writing is accepted. The fact that the twins are boys indicates the essential unity of Spirit and matter at the dawn of Creation, symbolised by their dual birth, which is so intimately described.
THE DECEPTION OF ISAAC AND ESAU BY REBEKAH AND JACOB—HISTORY OR ALLEGORY?
The story continues with a description of gross deception practised upon Isaac and Esau by Rebekah and Jacob. The conduct thus ascribed to the two latter is so repellant to the moral sense that the student of symbology is at once prompted to examine it with care, lest it should be suscep¬tible of interpretation as a deliberately constructed blind concealing profound and power-bestowing Macrocosmic and microcosmic truths. Since both Rebekah and Jacob represent receptive substance which is in the process of passing from one dispensation to its successor, it is in conformity with the natural procedure that Jacob should be the recipient of this inheritance.
Trickery and deception are allegories universally used by writers in the Sacred Language as a direct intimation to the reader—a prompting indeed—to look below the surface of the narrative in search of a hidden wisdom; for such episodes are not infrequently included in order to conceal and at the same time reveal knowledge concerning the impress of Spirit on matter in the Macrocosm, and of the Monad-Ego upon the mortal mind in the microcosm. The fiery touch of Spirit emanated from the solar Source has the effect of changing the preceding inertia of matter into that activity which is essential to practical responsiveness. In man this produces a change in the motives for living so profound that it may well be named revolutionary. The whole outlook of the person who is thus aroused from the attitude of indifference to the higher life becomes drastically, even dangerously, altered unless the character is stable and the mind is discrimi¬native. The danger is that, under a strong spiritual impulse, individuals may ill-advisedly proceed to such a drastic change in their mode and habits of life as to threaten their health, their sanity, and the happiness of those associated with them. Indeed, the difficulty can be so great that this enormously important development in the evolution of the Monad-Ego is nearly always referred to by means of allegory in the inspired portions of the world’s Scriptures. The Annunciations of the forthcoming births—and the births themselves—of John the Baptist and of Jesus to their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, and the warnings and portents surrounding the stories of the conceptions—generally described as being immaculate—of World Saviours, are examples of this form of revelation. All such Annunciations and Nativities can be read as foreshadowings and attainments of full spiritual awareness.
If such an approach to Biblical study be unacceptable, then the only alternative is to read this Chapter of the Book of Genesis as an account of another deplorable deceit for gain practised by Patriarchs themselves, and also upon them by members of their families, as in the present case. Abra¬ham, for example, as previously stated, presented his wife to the Pharaoh as his sister, whilst Rebekah and Jacob obtained the blessing of Isaac by means of a similar kind of subterfuge. Such morally unacceptable conduct, if really performed, presents some of the principal Biblical characters as despicable human beings and the Holy Bible itself as a book which contains accounts of reprehensible actions performed by people who nevertheless continued to enjoy Divine favours. Indeed, acts of fornication, and even incest, are recounted and these, in their turn, are susceptible of interpre¬tation as being descriptive of mystical experiences sought and passed through by devotees when they realise the unity of the Divine and the mortal parts of human nature. The amorous pursuits of Zeus, Father of the Gods in Greek Mythology, as a result of which he had intercourse with many maidens, and the plurality of the wives of the Lord Shri Krishna—portraying the intimate association (marriage) of a Representative of the Divine Spirit of the Universe with the spiritual Souls of all mankind—are all susceptible of the above suggested interpretation, namely that the God in man ever seeks to become intimately unified with his material, mortal self.
If, as would not be unnatural, particularly in those for whom this approach to the study of the Scriptures is new, these interpretations appear to be too far-fetched and the author to be taking unwarrantable liberties with Holy Writ, then may I again draw attention to the view expressed by a learned Hebrew scholar by repeating here his words which appear at the front of this book:
“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, symbolises some aspect of God’s creative power which is active in the Universe.
The trick played upon Isaac and Esau by Rebekah and Jacob also symbolises in another form the so-called enmity between Spirit and matter— the apparently inevitable resistance of matter to the formative impulse of Spirit. The ultimate establishment of a covenant between these apparent adversaries, followed by the great fruitfulness of the Israelites under Jacob’s leadership, allegorises the relationship between Spirit and matter when considered objectively as primordial electricity, with its harmoniously co¬operative currents and foci of opposite polarity.
Wars between opponents, as also treaties and covenants agreed upon, represent the interaction between the primordial pair at all levels, whether in terms of life and form, creative electricity, or human consciousness and its vehicles. Thus viewed, the great allegorical wars are only apparent conflicts; for actually no conflict occurs, since these two are essentially one and under genetic law interact with a common result, Macrocosmic and micro- cosmic, which is the production of Universes and of self-illumined human beings. Through these, by descent and ascent, Spirit-life continues in eternal progression its cyclic evolution to greater fulness of self-manifes¬tation. Such, in truth, is the major key to all Scriptures and all allegories emanating from world Sanctuaries, and especially to those concerned with creative processes.
Returning now to a consideration of the narrative, when a new cycle opens and the same levels of density in matter are again to be entered by Spirit, the “wells are once more dug out”, the supposed enmity of matter is overcome and a covenant is established, meaning that equipoise and balance of power are attained. The result—the rich productiveness of Nature—is symbolised by the great increase in herds, flocks, possessions, servants and offspring of the Patriarch. If this account be thus read as historical metaphor, then a reference may be discerned to the doctrine that in endless succession, though ever in greater degree and with richer result, the cosmogenetical process of perpetual unfoldment under eternal law is initiated, resisted, but eventually completed.
As already indicated, a new cycle opened with Abraham’s search, by means of his servant, for a wife for his son Isaac. Its progress is allegorically described in the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah and the birth of the twins, Esau and Jacob, the Spirit-matter of the next dispensation. All the femmes fatales of the major Biblical allegories, including Eve who supposedly produced the “Fall” of Adam and of all mankind; Rebekah, who deceived Isaac; Jael, wife of Heber, who drove a nail through the temple of Sisera; Delilah, who seduced Sampson; Jezebel, wife of Ahab, who was a murderess and incited her husband to evil; Salome, daughter of Herodias, who deman¬ded and obtained the head of John the Baptist; and Mary Magdalene, at first an adultress and later sanctified by the Christ (within)—all these personify the ensnaring attributes of matter in relation to Spirit, form in relation to life, and vehicles in relation to consciousness.
The stories of successful deceit or entrapment portray the phase at which Spirit becomes deeply embedded in matter, eventually to be absorbed by it. Figurative deaths and burials, bondage and darkness, descents into pits, entombments—all these are allegories of the arrival of Spirit at the densest plane of manifestation, the deepest point of incarnation in matter. Similarly successions through heirs, freedom from bondage, and arisings from pits and sepulchres, all portray in symbol and allegory both entry upon the returning arc of forthgoing and return and the development in Universe and man of inherent qualities and attributes from latency to potency.
THE PRINCIPLE OF THE TRANSMISSION OF POWER
All celebrations, feasts, victories and ascents in glory in their turn symbolise the culmination of these processes in uttermost fruition. Through¬out all successive cycles, major and minor, the one eternal Spirit is the parent, even as the one boundless space is the material field. The parentage of all created things is, in consequence, ever the same. This is brought out in the Bible by the careful preservation of records of genealogical descent and by the stories of the handing on of power, divine protection, blessing and possessions from father to selected heir. Thus an important spiritual principle is portrayed by means of allegory. The product or son of the primordial pair in its turn becomes the parent on the masculine side of the next cycle in succession. The cosmic Christos or “Son” of universal Spirit-matter becomes, in the second phase, the Logos and Architect of the Universe—of whatever dimension and degree—which follows. Thus in both cases, cosmic and geneological, the son is always heir to the father and in his turn assumes patriarchal (paternal) functions.
The mother, or the matter side, is the producer and nurse of the Logos- to-be and it is she who allegorically suckles, cares for and protects the interests of the heir. Rebekah it is, therefore, who sees to it that her son Jacob receives the blessing, which means the official handing on of power from the father, Isaac. Esau, on the other hand, represents Spirit and so proceeds to self-expression in another land.
As Eve was to Adam and Sarah to Abraham, so Rebekah is to Isaac. All of them typify the fertile, feminine principle or substance in the Macrocosm, and the Higher Manas in the microcosm. Since they are in the direct line of succession, it is they and their children who are made the heirs and successors and whose story is told. In the purely psychological sense the barrenness of both Sarah and Rebekah is personal, merely implying evolutionary immaturity. As yet the lower mind is unillumined by the Higher, or in their personalities they are “barren” of intuition and spiritual will. This is but temporary, for in due course intellect reaches the stage where the latent germ of pure wisdom can be fructified by the Dweller in the Innermost, the Monad, and later be “born” as the faculty of spiritual intuitive¬ness and “an instantaneous, implicit insight into every first truth”. Allegorically, barrenness is replaced by fruitfulness, each wife conceiving and giving birth to offspring.
To receive his patrimony and make it manifest, Jacob must assume the powers and attributes of the positive side (Esau), as he is made to do in his life story. Therefore Jacob is given by Rebekah the hairy skin and fine raiment appropriate to Esau. Neither deception nor theft occur in reality, The deeply occult truth is revealed that the Hierophant of one dispensation must personally receive from the hands of his predecessor the Hierophantic and Initiatory power. Similarly, Benjamin must find the cup in his sack, put there at the orders of Joseph. The mantle of Elijah must visibly and materially fall upon Elisha. John the Baptist must baptise Jesus and the dying Jesus must, in His turn, hand on His power to the disciple John. The concept of succession, whether Apostolic, Hierophantic or Masonic, as conveyed by words—whispered or at “low breath”—spoken to a successor, is based upon this spiritual principle and is in harmony with it.
Esau, however, is not actually deprived of the paternal blessing, as is made to appear. Since, however, in the new genetic process Matter will again entrap Spirit, Esau is ordained to be the servant of Jacob, who carries on the line. Such, in its main outlines, are the Macrocosmic and racial revelations of this Chapter.
THE FAMILY OF ABRAHAM PERSONIFY PRINCIPLES OF MAN
Since Sanskrit words are so valuable in the exposition of philosophic subjects because of their brevity, directness and completeness of meaning, pardon is here asked of the reader who may hitherto have been unfamiliar with them for their constant use in the immediately following passages, as also elsewhere throughout this work.
In the microcosmic—and particularly the Initiatory—interpretations Isaac is the Monad, Esau the Atma (Spirit), Jacob the Buddhi (Wisdom) and Rebekah the Higher Manas (Abstract Mind). The Atma is ever the product of the Monad, or symbolically it is Esau whom Isaac loves. Buddhi, on the other hand, as intuitive insight, arises out of the attainment of Egoic or Causal Consciousness. Therefore Rebekah, representing the latter, loves Jacob better than Esau.
Two pairs thus exist. Two polarities within the inner Self of man are personified, each in its turn being dual. Isaac and Esau both personify the positive pole, the spiritual principle, the fructifying power. Rebekah and Jacob represent the material encasement, the negative pole. These four together portray the true immortal, creative, perpetually unfolding. Self.
Buddhi is the vehicle in man of the universal life. It cannot be used by the Ego as an instrument of consciousness until it has become individual-lised, or symbolically “born” from within the Causal Body, which in this sense is its “mother”. Otherwise expressed, spiritual wisdom cannot be wholly developed from below. The Egoic centre of awareness cannot of itself move into and use a body composed of the universal life-force. A co-ordinating principle must first be supplied, and this can only come from the positive polarity, the Monad-Atma. The Atmic, fructifying power in man must first descend from its own level into that of the Buddhic plane, and touch and thereby awaken into life the central atoms of the germinal Bvddhic body within the Causal vehicle.
This process is allegorically described in the story of the birth of the twins. Esau is bom first. Unity is, however, indicated by the fact that Jacob grasps Esau’s heel. Interpreted, this reveals that Atma in its deepest descent, its lowest point of contact (heel) with the worlds below, is brought into contact and relationship with the Buddhic world. As a result Jacob, representing the Buddhic consciousness in man, follows Esau in birth. The intuitive faculty then begins its development and use by consciousness. This fructifying action continues until the vehicle is full grown, as it were. Symbolically, Jacob as a young man receives in return for his offer of vehicleship the mess of pottage, the continued, positive, fructifying power and presence of the Atma, symbolised as the birthright of Esau.
The hairiness of Esau portrays the outraying quality characteristic of the positive polarity, whilst the colour red is also a primary colour. Jacob, on the other hand, is represented as of an opposite type, being the favourite not of the father but of the mother, whilst in the account of the supposed deception by which the paternal blessing is gained a reference is made to the “smooth of his neck”. Furthermore, he is a dweller in tents, whilst Esau is a man of the field.
Eventually the Buddhic principle (Jacob) reaches its full development and assumes the position and power of headship in the new evolutionary cycle which is then entered. In terms of Christian Mysticism the heretofore germinal Christ nature, “....Christ in you, the hope of glory” is fructified by the power and words of the Archangel Gabriel, develops within its mother-to-be, Mary, and at the Nativity is born or reaches a stage of self- conscious, Christ-like wisdom, compassion and all-embracing love. Thus Buddhi, originally born of Higher Manas, becomes consciously the vehicle of Atma, ascent into the positive polarity is attained and identity with the Monad-Atma is realised (Jacob succeeds his father as Patriarch).
In the Macrocosm the “Son” becomes the Logos and officiates as the fully conscious vehicle for the creative Power or “Word”. As the Evange¬lists (particularly St. John) made clear, the Christos becomes identified with the Logos. That which is born as wisdom-love develops into wisdom-will; that which itself is a product of its spiritual parents becomes in its turn a progenitor. This is the solution of the confusion caused by the identification by St. John of the Christ as Son, or Second Aspect, with the Father or Logos as the First. The Christos, which has become a Logos, then creates in its turn. This function is also portrayed by the later story of Jacob laying his head upon a stone, sleeping, dreaming of the Angelic Hierarchy (the Elohim or Hierarchy of creative Intelligences through which the Divine produces the manifested Universe), and thereafter setting up the stone as a pillar (lingam); for all the symbols thus employed are of the positive, creative order.
To return to the narative in this great story we have a second-born son who came forth from his mother’s womb holding the heel of his twin brother, grew up into deepening antagonism towards him, by tricks deprived him of both his birthright and his paternal blessing and inheritance, and yet was blessed of the Lord. In both its Macrocosmic and its microcosmic senses the story is of one individual, one unit of consciousness. In the former case the creative Logoi are implied, and in the latter the human Monad. Atma, Buddhi and Higher Manas are referred to. The major allegory is also a story of two creative cycles, an old one which passes (Abraham’s) and a new one which begins (Jacob’s). The principles and laws governing the creative process are, as we have seen, all portrayed by a group of component allegories. These processes are of three orders at least: first, the Cosmic— the birth of a Universe; second, the Monadic—the birth of Buddhi, or the Christ-consciousness in man; and third, the Egoic—the birth of the physical body, to which is added the gathering in and preservation of the faculties and capacities developed by the Ego—as the result of life therein.
THE REASON FOR SECRECY
Such, within the admitted limits of the author’s understanding, is the profound revelation concerning Macrocosmic and microcosmic genetic procedures revealed under a symbolic veil which has been rendered more dense by means of a narrative of events repellant to one’s sense of justice. If the need for such enveiling here be questioned, justifiably since the resul¬tant knowledge appears to he harmless, the reply could be given that full comprehension of the whole truth would enable an unworthy member of society to use it for the domination of susceptible people by means of cleverly directed will-thought, thus reducing them to virtual slavery. The author admits that his interpretations themselves fall short of totality, since he also is under certain prohibitions in this respect.
JACOB EMBARKS UPON PATRIARCHAL RESPONSIBILITY
Gen. 28: Jacob is blessed, and sent to Padan-aram: his vision, and God’s promise in a dream. The stone at Bethel. Jacob’s vow.
1. And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
2. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father: and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.
3. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;
4. And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.
5. And Isaac sent away Jacob; and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau’s mother.
6. When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;
7. And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram;
8. And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;
9. Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.
As Universe (Manvantara) follows Universe, so epochs and dispensations succeed each other on the planet Earth. Thus the story of the Israelites moves on from the dispensation of Isaac to that of Jacob. In the meta¬phorical language in which the Pentateuch is assumed to have been written, the successive Patriarchs and their historical periods are in a certain sense reflections upon Earth of the successive Logoi of Solar Systems and their component cycles. As the same principles apply in all creative epochs, the stories of each of them have certain incidents in common. Thus in the present Chapter of Genesis Jacob, like his forefathers, must go back to the place of racial origins (Padan-aram) to find his wife, implying in the Macrocosm a return between each Manvantara to the state of undifferentiated matter or Pralaya, and also the beginning of new creative processes by the use of the same root substance (MulaPrakriti).
10. And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran.
11. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the Sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.
14. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
16. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.
17. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
THE SYMBOLISM OF JACOB S LADDER
The dream of Jacob at Bethel in which he saw a ladder set up “and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it” portrays the ordered emergence of the Elohim or creative Intelligences associated with the Ten Sephiroth or Emanations of Deity, each on its “rung” according to its place in the Sephirothal Hierarchy.
This dream portrays the action of cosmic Ideation, the preparatory activity of Universal Mind. The ladder itself, being triple with two sides and connecting rungs, in one interpretation (others follow later) represents the emergence or emission of the three-fold creative “Breath” and its gradual penetration—level by level—from the most spiritual plane down to the deepest densities of substance. The forthgoing of divine Intelligence on the downward arc, under the direction of the appropriate Sephira, followed by its similarly directed return, are portrayed by the various symbols in the dream.
The ladder symbol may also be interpreted as signifying the universal law of descent and ascent, or involution and evolution. On the pathway of forthgoing the Monad-bearing life wave becomes embodied in vehicles of increasing degrees of density until the mineral kingdom is reached. On the pathway of return ascent is achieved through the plant, animal, human and superhuman kingdoms (rungs), as elsewhere explained in this book. As a means of ascent the form of the ladder suggests regularity and order. Composed of safely secured rungs placed at an equal distance apart, symbolically it indicates that life in all the kingdoms of Nature ascends from its deepest encasement, stage by stage, to ever greatei degrees of development and unfoldment (heights). If this interpretation be applied to man, each rung represents an evolutionary phase, beginning with the most primitive savage and progressing upwards to civilised man, genius, Initiate and Adept.
In the Macrocosmic interpretation Jacob as the dreamer corresponds to the first Emanation from the Absolute, which is Universal Mind on its journey towards Universal Substance (Rachel and Leah), whilst the stone upon which Jacob rested his head is pre-cosmic, unified Spirit-matter thus brought into contact with creative thought (the head of the dreamer). In his ability thus to perceive cosmic procedures, even if only by means of a symbolic dream, Jacob displays the powers of an initiated Seer who can discern and commune with Beings of the superphysical and spiritual worlds.
18. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19. And he called the name of that place Beth-el: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
20. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on.
21. So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
22. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Rachel and Leah, the wives-to-be, represent that same matter duly prepared, modified or differentiated by the action of the creative “Breath. The pillar which Jacob, on awakening, erected from the stones on which his head had rested in sleep, represents the positive current, the male creative potency and activity, whilst the anointing of the pillar with oil and the action of naming the locality in which the event occurred represent the negative current in action.
Macrocosmically, oil represents the equi-polarised, linking or conjoining product of positive and negative activity. The ceremonial action of anointing allegorically portrays the process of linking the superphysical with the physical parts of inorganic substances and the inner self of man with his outer personality. The act of naming is negative, in the sense that it is but a ratification by sound and thought of the decree of the positive creative AGent. Naming also affirms the existing individuality and refers to the processes of marking out an area in universal space, establishing its boundary or “Ring-pass-not”, and imparting to the enclosed matter its specific frequencies of oscillation; or, in the language of music, choosing the keynote and sounding forth the theme of the Universe-to-be.
In a Monadic-Atmic interpretation, the oil would correspond to Buddhi and the naming action to the function of Higher Manas. When the Ego is in incarnation the oil represents the astral principle, the unifying life- force, and in physical consciousness the seat of personal love and desire for union.
THE CORONATION STONE
The Coronation Stone upon which British Monarchs are crowned is an essential ritual object in the Ceremony of enthronement; for, as in the story just interpreted, the new Ruler personifies the Logos of the dispen¬sation then being inaugurated, and more especially the presiding Deity of a Solar System, Planetary Scheme, Chain or Round. The stone, whether the one upon which Jacob laid his head (imbued it with mind), or a Coronation Stone, represents the Spirit—impregnated basic Substance of which all things will be made. The vows of the Monarch-to-be corres¬pond to the dream. The Crown itself and the act of Coronation portray the emergence of the future creative Logos and His assumption of Office. In terms of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the Crown is Kether and the stone in the Coronation Chair corresponds to Malkuth, “the Kingdom”, over which the newly crowned Monarch will rule.
THE ISRAELITE NATION IS FOUNDED
Gen. 29: Jacob, coming to the well of Haran, meeteth Rachel, and is entertained by Laban: he covenanteth for her, but is deceived with Leah. Rachel also given him to wife on a new agreement. Leah beareth Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.
1. Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
2. And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.
In this Twenty-ninth Chapter of the Book of Genesis the opening of the third cycle in the story of the Hebrew nation is described by means of a blending of history and allegory. The first cycle opened with the departure of Abram from the City of Ur of the Chaldees, and the second with the birth of Isaac.
The East, when used in the allegorical language, is less a direction of space than a reference to a particular time in major and minor cycles of activity. In the Macrocosmic sense the East implies the beginning of a new cycle, and also describes the pre-cosmic or undisturbed state of root Substance (MulaPrakriti). This undifferentiated matter is symbolically indicated in three ways namely by the place of origin of the Patriarch and his family, by the principal female—and even sometimes male—characters, and by water—whether as the open sea or the contents of pitchers or wells. The presence of sheep by the well aptly represents the ordered (shepherded), potentially fruitful, time-space condition. If a development of this theme be acceptable, the sheep when watering and grazing on the pasture represent the future inhabitants (Monads) of the Macrocosmic field or Universe-to-be. The number three—in this case referring to three cycles in the history of the Hebrew nation—if symbolically intended, may be regarded as a reference to the three outpourings of Spirit, Life and Intelligence from the one divine Source, as also to the triple manifestation of the triune Logoi of Universes as expressions of Will, Wisdom and Intelligence.
3. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
The presence of the stone upon the well’s mouth before the watering of the sheep and its replacement afterwards is suceptible of interpretation as referring to the “covered” or inactive and unused condition of water (Space) before each new cycle of emanation, involution, evolution and reabsorption of Spirit, and the subsequent—and consequent—return of the matter of Space to that condition. Symbolically, a stone covered the mouth of the well before the epoch began and again covered it when that period of activity had reached its close.
4. And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
5. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
6. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
LABAN AS FIRST LOGOS
Laban, in one possible interpretation, the Macrocosmic, is a personification of the First Emanation from the Absolute, the Root Logos, the primary cosmic Mind, the ever-existent “Father He is thus the Patriarch who stays at home, who remains in the East (the place of origin), and who produces the female line from which the wives of the Patriarchs in the new land, or field, are chosen. He and his daughters therefore represent primordial, pre-cosmic, Spirit-matter, a duality of origin being indicated. Through Laban contact is maintained with the place of origin, the natural home.
In the Mysteries Laban is the hidden Hierophant, the Initiate in whose Name and by whose powers the Initiations are conferred and the occult wisdom (personified by females in this story) infused into and united with the Initiate Mind.
All allegorical marriages represent the illumination of the Higher and the lower Manas by the receipt of the Eternal Wisdom, as for example during the Rite of Initiation in the Greater Mysteries. In the main the principal wives are pure Wisdom itself, the unalloyed truth. Therefore they are always described as beautiful, well-favoured, fair to see. The sisters of these wives, sometimes also married, represent the same Wisdom clothed in human thought, whilst the handmaids and concubines symbolise varied aspects and attributes of that Wisdom as perceived and expressed in and through mental, emotional and bodily life.
In stories of polygamous marriages and irregular associations, when thus married, there is no carnal intent whatever, whether they be interpreted in terms of Cosmogenesis, of the evolution of human consciousness, or of the stages and experiences of the Initiates of the Greater Mysteries. The barrenness, often of the first chosen wife, symbolises a limitation, not of the wife but of the husband who at first is unable intellectually to conceive of, and so make fruitful in himself, the pure Wisdom. Microcosmically, it must always be remembered, the two are principles, bodies and states of consciousness of one person. The older sister, such as Leah, more readily conceives, as do the handmaidens, because the Eternal Wisdom reduced to terms of the lower mind is often more readily comprehensible than in its pure state. When, however, Rachel (the Gnosis) does conceive, her son is always in the direct line of descent. He it is who initiates and carries on the new cycle to the next stage, of whatever degree.
Returning to the story at Laban, wells containing water are symbols of the outpoured cosmic life by which Universes and all lesser creations are vivified and sustained, and in man they symbolise the illumined, wisdom- filled Buddhi-Manas. In the microcosmic sense, women at the well, whether Rebekah, Rachel or the woman of Samaria, personify the original spiritual intelligence (Buddhi-Manas) in the Causal Body, the instrument of illumination, the organ of pure perception and direct, intuitive insight into first truths.
JACOB MISTAKES LEAH FOR RACHEL
Since, on perusal of this Chapter of Genesis, the attention is arrested by the account of the deception practised by Laban upon Jacob, an interpretation of this incident is here offered in advance of a verse-by-verse consideration of the whole Chapter. Like so many incidents recorded in the Old Testament, this strange story is worthy of examination as a possible description, by means of allegory, of both psychological limitations and the phases of man’s natural progress towards full spiritual illumination. The substitution of the eldest daughter, Leah, for the younger one, Rachel, who was so greatly desired by Jacob, may be interpreted as being descriptive of the effects of the limitations imposed upon neophytes by their position in evolution. Jacob sought pure wisdom (Rachel), but at first was unable to attain to it and so was wedded to Leah, representing the above-mentioned limitations. Every Candidate for Initiation begins by becoming spiritually awakened and, in consequence, seeking illumination. Whilst a full response is not withheld and ultimately is granted, intermediate steps must needs be taken or, in other words, truth must primarily be presented under the veil of allegory and symbol, but eventually in its pure state.
The aspirant is not at first aware of his own immaturity and so, allegorically, is led to accept a substituted “wife” for the one of his choice. Symbolically, Jacob marries Leah in the belief (hat she is Rachel. In the morning, however, which means the light of day or illumination of mind by Spirit, he discovers the deception which had been practised upon him. Actually it was his own limitations, particularly those of the formal mind, which are ever deceptive if wholly relied upon, that caused him to mistake Leah for Rachel—a substitute for the reality. Jacob, personifying every neophyte, received all that he was capable of understanding at that stage of his evolution and the whole procedure, symbolically described, was in fact perfectly natural and inevitable.
In the allegory Laban expresses this principle as the custom of giving the eldest daughter first. The description of Leah as “tender eyed” draws attention to the development of compassion, pity and love as essential to interior illumination, but it was Rachel to whom his soul clave from the moment when he first saw her at the well, kissed her and wept. Pure Wisdom is ever the source of the secret longing of the heart of the aspirant lot illumination, and no labour is too great and no disappointment or delay too grievous to bedull the fire of his aspiration. This is beautifully expressed in the words: “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.”
In the microcosmic, occult interpretation, the return of the young scion-to-be to the Patriarchal home in the East refers to that mental and spiritual journey to the Sanctuary wherein the original Wisdom is preserved and where spiritual light may be received.
THE SYMBOLOGY OF THE ROLLING AWAY OF THE STONE
The removal and replacing of the stone at the well’s mouth in a graphic way indicates the opening and closing of a Manvantara, whether, major or minor. So far as the watering of the sheep is concerned, this would be regularly performed at about the same time each day. The sheep, in this sense, are the Monads, the three flocks lying near the well representing the three basic types or Rays and that member of the Sephiroth with which they are associated, their Shepherd as it were. The successive unveilings of the secret Wisdom (the water in the well) for the welfare of mankind (the sheep) is also symbolised, and the author of the Pentateuch is directly informing the reader that he (the author) is himself engaged in that unveiling and warns the reader to be prepared. The careful replacing of the stone is especially suggestive of the preservation of Wisdom from both loss and profanation.
Those who remove the stone are the Earth’s Adepts, the true Teachers of mankind. The rolling away of the stone suggests its spherical or circular shape, and also refers to the underlying principle of recurrent cycles. Precisely the same interpretation is applicable to the rolling away of the stone of the sepulchre in which Jesus was buried. In both accounts the opening of a new Manvantara is implied, also the unveiling of Wisdom and the giving of assistance to man in his search for truth.
“TRUTH IS FOUND AT THE BOTTOM OF A WELL”
The depth and the darkness of the waters of a well aptly symbolise both the precosmic state and, proverbially, the mysterious depths in which the hidden Wisdom (truth) is concealed. The filling in of the wells belonging to members of the Patriarchal line by those at enmity with them represents the action both of the guna of inertia and of the Powers of Darkness, which ever seek to make muddy the living waters of truth and to choke up the source of their supply to mankind.
The well of water, therefore, is much used in the Sacred Language as a basic symbol, and since water represents both root Substance and root Wisdom the old adage of Heraclitus, quoted above, is true. To attain wisdom man must either dig, if no well exists for him, or if it does, let down his bucket and draw forth water. These two processes correspond cosmically to the action of the emitted, intelligence-imbued, formative electrical energy (Fohat) which “digs holes in Space” (produces primordial atoms), and microcosmically to the effects of study, research, experiment and meditation. The very atoms of the brain, as channels for knowledge and consciousness, are “widened” in terms of that function. Water in wells is drained from free sources. It is free water with which the soil is soaked as a result of rain and of underground rivers and pools. The well, therefore, is a localisation and a concentration for special purposes of that which in its nature and normal existence is unconfined. This aptly applies both to the creative life indwelling in all Substance, but focused and directed in a Universe, and also to the primordial Wisdom inherent in the nature of things and in its turn focused by intellect, so that it may be drawn upon and used by mind.
THE WOMEN STANDING AT THE WELL
The wives-to-be, the women who draw water from wells and minister to the thirsty, may be regarded macrocosmically as personifications of spiritually fructified, differentiated matter in the Cosmos. They also represent the Gnosis itself, whilst in this sense wells are the Temples and Sanctuaries wherein it is enshrined. In terms of principles, the free water is the universal life or Buddhi. The water in the well is the Buddhic principle within the Manas, and the woman personifies the action of Higher Manas in perceiving or “drawing” it. The woman is placed at the well in Samaria to show the necessity for this function of the Higher Manas. Even the awakened Christos needs a vehicle as intermediary between itself and the world or, interiorly, between pure Wisdom (Buddhi) and the mind-brain.
In allegories referring to the processes of creation and human illumination, a woman must always be present. She personifies the basic principle of vehicleship, whilst her pitcher is an emblem of the particular vehicle appropriate to the level of action and interpretation under consideration. This principle is also typified by the Cup or Holy Grail and by the Chalice, especially when elevated and being used to administer Holy Communion. All recipients, at whatever level, are represented by the human beings and animals who receive water from the well. In Biblical allegories the opening of new cycles is frequently indicated by a process of vehicleship performed by a woman, well-known examples being Eve, Rebekah, Rachel, the woman of Samaria, Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
The fact is of interest that this subjective, feminine function is projected and exhibited objectively. Physically, the feminine throughout all Nature is the receiver, the vehicle, and the producer. This applies equally to Cosmogenesis and to the illumination of the human mind by the comprehension of basic principles. The highest function of woman, as personification of abstract intelligence, is to perceive intuitively the root principles upon which any manifestation or cycle of events is founded, and then to convey the resultant knowledge to the mind-brain. To perform this office effectively she must transfer her focus of awareness and activity from the outermost to the innermost, from personality to Ego, and there be still. Thus the woman of Samaria listened at the well, thereby indicating that physical and mental stillness are essential to the attainment of interior illumination. This is beautifully portrayed in the incident of the visit of Jesus to the home of Martha and Mary at Bethany, and explains His commendation of the apparently idle Mary and His gentle rebuke of the hospitably active Martha.
The woman standing at the well with a pitcher by her side is one of the most beautiful, spiritual and revealing of all symbols. In terms of occult philosophy she represents in man the Higher Manasic receptacle and minis- trant of the Atma-charged Buddhic Wisdom and Life—the illumined Causal Body.
Jacob, like Isaac his father before him, came to a well. Cosmically, he is positively polarised Spirit approaching negatively polarised matter—the potential Logos of a Universe-to-be.
ALLEGORIES OF THE LOGOS DOCTRINE
The questions and answers which form the subject-matter of verses four, five and six of the Twenty-ninth Chapter of Genesis are worthy of further consideration. They are reminiscent of those repeated at the opening of Mystery Temples and Lodges. Though modified and changed in various Rites, they represent the essential vocal interchanges which pass between the Creator and the creative Intelligences at the beginning of the emanation and formation of Universes. Somewhat similarly the Master of a Lodge interrogates his Officers and receives their replies. As always, the medium of communication is the sound of the voice, will-charged and thought-charged: for, as previously stated, the Logos doctrine is implicit in all Cosmogonies.
Jacob first asks: “My brethern, whence be ye?” The answer is well- known to him, since he himself is present at their place of origin and they are obviously at home. It is necessary, however, to evoke a response, to arouse creative activity, to awaken the hitherto quiescent consciousness and its embodiment in pre-cosmic matter from its pralayic slumber. They answered “Of Haran are we.” Thus their first response consists of mere repetition, a statement of the obvious, and not a self-initiated conveyance of original information. Jacob represents the primordial “Idea”. The herdsmen, awakened by the sound of the divine “Voice”, represent the instinctual life in matter, which but repeats the fact of its own existence.
Then asks Jacob: “Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?” Here is allegorically portrayed the process of naming, which means bestowing individuality, thereby causing differentiation within original root substance. Laban personifies conscious life in matter and refers to the Lord of the preceding cycle on the matter side of its manifestation. He is male because in terms of function the Essence, Soul, noumenon of matter, is triple and Laban represents the masculine or positive ourrent or power therein, the Patriarch as it were, the father of the celestial “virgins” who become the “mothers” of new creations. The word “Haran” may be interpreted as the condition of consummation, and so as also referring to the preceding cycle, the fruits of which have all been summed up in its creative Logos, symbolically stationed in the East. Therefore it is to the East, to Haran, that Jacob goes as the Logos of the new cycle. The herdsmen can but answer in their quasi-automatic way, “We know him”, and the interchange back and forth between Spirit and matter, Idea and substance, Logos and field, continues.
Jacob then asks, “Is he (Laban) well?” They answer, “He is well”. Here the Logos has confirmed the existence of creative responsiveness and the adequate functioning or “well-being” of the life in the new field. Thereupon the feminine or negative current comes directly into action The herdsmen indicate this by their comment: “....behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.” Here again as in other Biblical allegories of Cosmogenesis, the mutual approach of positive and negative is indicated, the invariable mutual attraction and creative interaction of opposite polarities being described.
7. And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.
8. And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.
9. And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them.
At once, in further interrogation and reply, the pure passivity and compliance of the life in matter is displaced by the resistance essential to all manifestation. In consequence, objections are raised to the request which follows. Although the instinctual, elemental consciousness in matter, symbolised by the herdsmen and sheep (the three flocks are the three gunas), acts only according to the established material rule, the life and consciousness therein overrides the characteristic inertia. In this the play of the three gunas is interestingly described. Jacob is rajas or activity. The herdsmen, their flocks, the custom of only watering sheep in the evening, and the great stone over the well, aptly represent tarnas or inertia. Rachel in her turn, corresponds to sattva or rhythm. That Rachel is associated with matter is distinctly and deliberately indicated by making her a herdswoman and giving her a flock, which she brings to the well.
JACOB AND RACHEL MEET AT THE WELL
10. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
SINCE in these verses the elements of water and earth—the stone—are introduced into the narrative, an interruption in the sequential interpretation of the narrative is at this point deliberately embarked upon. Fundamental principles governing the method of writing in the Sacred Language and the inter-relationship between natural elements, vehicles, states of consciousness, faculties and senses of man here need to be considered; for these are the bases upon which the structure of allegorical literature is founded. An interpretation of verse eleven will, however, follow this diversion, which it is hoped will prove to be helpful.
As has been suggested in preceding interpretations, eternal and funda-mental laws are allegorically described in Biblical accounts of journeys, relationships between families, Patriarchs, parents and their offspring, and in the courtships and, later, marriages of their sons and daughters. This practice is also followed in the present Chapter of Genesis. The story centres round the element of water, ever a symbol of the life inherent in all substance. This becomes individualised when placed in a well, (limited to one universe), and fructified when the positive element (Jacob) rolls away the stone which covers the well and “kisses” the personification of the divine consciousness intimately associated with that life (Rachel), as is indicated in verse eleven.
WATER, FIRE, EARTH AND AIR AS UNIVERSAL SYMBOLS
In all Biblical allegories, from Eden onwards, the inspired authors are at pains to introduce the element of water. Examples are the four rivers associated with the Garden of Eden, the rain and the floods of the Noachian era, and the various wells at which scions and daughters of Patriarchs meet and where pitchers are filled with the water which the feminine personifications draw from them. Fire is introduced by the setting up of various altars and the making of burnt offerings thereon. Earth is represented by the very ground which is the stage upon which the dramas are played, and by the different countries and districts in which these acts are performed. The clement of air is symbolised by references to birds—in Eden, in the Ark, and liberated therefrom—as also by the air which all the actors breathe.
Water, fire, earth, air—these represent physically those four basic elements, types of universal substance or tattvas with which the Universal Mind constructs, moulds, beautifies and ultimately perfects Cosmoi, their component Universes and all that they contain. Behind and within these four is their parent, their Father-Mother Source—Akasa—the fifth in addition to water, fire, earth and air. It is also the first of the divine Builder’s materials of which Universes are composed; for all substances and the potentiality of all possible combinations of substances are contained within it. As is so constantly portrayed in the varying relationships of the actors in the Hebrew allegories, every chemical element is there, as also is every active, creative power and law, including that of attraction and repulsion.
Akasa is all; all is Akasa. This is the truth implied in the words of the Lord: “I AM THAT I AM”, and of the Christ: “Before Abraham was, I am.” Akasa is the “Soul” of the waters of first differentiated cosmic Space. It is an intelligent, creative, electric, all-containing and all- producing life force and substance, ever obedient to eternal law. Such are the five basic elements of which Universes are built. In the microcosm they are represented by the principles and powers of man, and find expression both within him and through his sensory capacities.
CORRESPONDENCES BETWEEN ELEMENTS, PLANES, HUMAN SENSES AND LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
In one classification the correspondences between the principles of man, the elements and man’s sensory powers are as follows:
Physical body — Earth, smell.
Astral body — Water, taste.
Lower mental body — Fire, sight.
Higher mental body — Akasa, hearing.
Intuitional body — Air, touch.
Man’s power to speak, as well as to hear, corresponds to the Akasa, the fifth element, which is the synthesis of the other four elements. These are unified in the vehicle of the Higher Mind, the Causal Body, the Auric Envelope. Whenever an element, whether earth, water, air or fire (to quote them in their more usual order) is mentioned in Biblical allegories, an intentional reference is presumably made to a plane of Nature in the Macrocosm and a body and physical sense in man, the microcosm.
The whole man is a unit and his physical body is the synthesis of all his seven vehicles in term., of vibrational potentiality. Different types of bodily tissue in their turn correspond to the substances of the superphysical bodies. The senses, on the other hand, represent the faculties and inherent attributes of consciousness when using those bodies and active at any particular level. This system of correspondences was well known to the Initiates of the Chaldean and Egyptian Sanctuaries, who are mainly responsible for the Pentateuch. It was, however, regarded as a deeply occult, even a sacred, revelation. Since without its inclusion the cosmo-genetic account would be incomplete, this knowledge and the law of correspondences itself were perforce introduced into the allegories, but very heavily veiled.
Two profound ideas contained within the arcane teachings are firstly that of the unity of the Macrocosm or Universe—with its transcendent and its immanent Deity—and the microcosm of man, material and spiritual; and secondly, that there is a close similarity between the processes by which the powers within both become manifest and evolve. Man, in very truth, is created in the image of God. Eliphas Levi wrote: “The mystery of the earthly and mortal man is after the mystery of the supernal and immortal One.” Thus the Logos and man are not only one in essence but all that is in the Logos, which includes the Solar System, is innate in man. Their constitution is precisely similar—that is to say, it is at least seven fold. Man as Monad, like the Deity and the Universe, is also immanent within and transcendent beyond his field of manifestation, his seven principles. The creative power and processes by which a Solar System comes into being also operate in human procreation.
Occult philosophy thus teaches that the whole Universe with all its parts, from the highest plane of Adi down to physical Nature, is interlocked or interwoven to make a single whole—one body, one organism, one life, one consciousness, one law. All the “organs” or parts of this Macrocosm, though apparently separated in space and plane of manifestation, are in fact harmoniously interrelated and interacting. Certain of them are, however, 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” Let a note be struck on an instrument and the faintest sound produces an eternal echo.” For instance, a Zodiacal Sign, a planet, an element, a colour, a principle of man, a chakra, a type of tissue and a part of the physical body of man will all be vibrating in harmony. Knowledge of these corres¬pondences provides a key to the understanding of the Universe, and of man’s place therein and relationship therewith. It also explains the process of human development and thereby helps to solve human problems, such as those of health and disease. This knowledge is the basic science behind all life and the key to all magic. It reveals the rationale of both Astrology and Karma.
PART OF THE TABLE OF CORRESPONDENCES
Plane and Principle
Atmic body & Plane
Neptune & Mercury
Buddhic Plane & Body
Causal Plane & Body
Lower Mental Plane & Body
Throat & Heart
Cerebro Spinal System
Astral Plane & Body
Etheric Plane & Body
Connecting principle & pranic Spleen reservoir
Physical A synthesis of all
Thus a profound, fundamental truth concerning man is that in his spiritual, intellectual, psychical and physical nature he is a miniature replica or epitome of the whole order of created beings and things. Man is a model of the totality of Nature. He contains within himself the collective aggregate of all that ever has existed, does at any' time exist and will ever exist throughout the eternity of eternities. This doctrine is innate in Kabbalism, where it is stated somewhat as follows:
In the vast chain of cosmic being all created things are linked together, everything being magically contained in everything else. Where one stands, there stand all the worlds. Everything is connected with everything else, and interpenetrates everything else, according to exact if mysterious law. “Nothing is unimportant in nature....even so small a thing as the birth of one child upon our insignificant planet has its effect upon the universe...” Man himself may be seen as a symbolic transparency through which the secrets of the Cosmos could be discerned. Goethe echoes this in his words: “The eye could not see the sun if it did not contain the sun within itself, and how could Divine things enrapture us if we did not carry the Power of God within us?”
If this underlying principle be acceptable, then the introduction of the clement of fire into certain Biblical narratives may be regarded as referring to the Akasa-tattva, the higher mental vehicle (the Causal Body) and the sense of hearing. This tattava is of itself sound-producing or soniferous, in consequence giving birth in man to the sense of hearing. Physically it is the preponderating tattva in the aural nerves and brain centres, as well as in their counterparts in the etheric, emotional, mental and higher mental vehicles. Whilst all of these bodies have all the tattvic states represented within their substances, one preponderates in each of them. The Akasa itself and, microcosmically, the Ego in the Causal Body, are all creatively parental, the other tattvas emanating therefrom. The Causal Body is the synthesis and conjoined essence of all the powers and faculties of man. It is represented by the element of fire, from which all things proceed and to which they all return.
Water is the opposite of fire and represents the receptive, maternal, all- productive element. In the Sacred Language it is the symbol for the astral plane, and for the astral body so far as man is concerned. Both of these correspond to the sense of taste in the organs, nerves and brain centres in which the element of water predominates. Physically the sense of taste is dependent upon the presence of water for its operation.
The earth, meaning all solid ground and substances, corresponds to the form vehicles, and especially to the physical body and the sense of smell.
In symbology all solid objects refer to states or experiences of waking bodily consciousness. Mountains, for example, represent exalted states; valleys, degradation; fields and gardens, fruitfulness; whilst deserts and wildernesses designate conditions of spiritual aridity. 
Air in its turn, particularly still air, corresponds to the faculty of intui¬tion. When consciousness is exalted to the level of pure wisdom, spiritual intuitiveness and full realisation of unity, sometimes symbolised by a white cloud, then the almost omnipotent power of the Will-Self of man may be discerned. Thus the author of the Book of Revelation wrote: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat, like unto the Son of man, having on his bead a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.”
Since, however, clouds shut out the light of the sun they are, as also suggested above, symbols of that obscurity with which the higher nature of man is regarded by the analytical mind-brain. Elemental storms generally refer to disturbed mental and emotional conditions. Still air represents both the higher emotions and the intuition, whilst rushing winds sometimes refer to disturbed mento-emotional states.
Four elements, four principles and four senses of men have now been correlated. There remains the fifth, the sense of touch, which involves the total life principle of the whole human organism from highest Spirit (Atma) to the dense physical body. Thus a synthesis of the whole is involved, rather than a single element. If, in order to complete the correspondences, a superphysical vehicle is indicated, it woidd be the Auric Envelope.
Such, then, are the elements, tattvas and senses and such are their uses and significations in the Sacred Language. The four dements especially always refer to levels of consciousness in man and to tattvas in Nature.
11. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
Proffered interpretations of the Biblical verses and the narrative which they relate are now resumed. The action of positive Spirit upon inert matter is indicated by Jacob’s action of rolling away the stone from the well, whilst the interfusion of Spirit and matter, positive and negative, is shown in the kiss with which Jacob greeted Rachel. A kiss involves the sense of touch, symbolises the creative contact of the positive agent upon the negative recipient, and portrays a phase in the creative process. In human super¬physical experience the lover’s kiss is an expression of emotion and of a sense of oneness. Although physically given by the lips, superphysically it is an expression of love and desire inspired by a realisation of unity, however fleeting and faint that realisation may be. Since, however, unity is an unalterable fact behind apparent diversity, and since the life in all people is one and the same despite the variety of form, the instinct for togetherness finds constant and continual expression in man. In a kiss on the lips, emotion predominates. By a kiss on the brow, over the pituitary gland and the Ajna Chakram, the spiritual is implied. The fact that paternal, maternal, filial, fraternal and sisterly kisses are hardly ever upon the lips is of i nterest, indicating that desire is absent from them.
The kiss which Jacob gives to Rachel includes the feeling of attraction aroused by the sight of her beauty and the attainment of contact by touch. It also indicates positive action by the male and acquiescence and response by the female, thereby perfectly symbolising the Macrocosmic creative process which begins with the “kiss” of Spirit upon matter. The kiss bestowed by Judas upon Jesus represents the reaction or response of matter to Spirit; for it was a betrayal leading to the imprisonment, the degradation, the suffering, the death and the entombment of the Christ. Spirit (personi¬fied by Jesus) on entering, moulding and ultimately perfecting material vehicles, is enfolded and so “betrayed” and imprisoned by matter, pri-mordial freedom being temporarily restrained. As expounded in the first Volume of this work, the life story of Jesus—especially as related in the fourth Gospel—is susceptible of interpretation as an allegory of Cosmogenesis (the Nativity), involution to the deepest depths (burial in the rock tomb), and evolution to fullest attainment (Ascension to the right hand of God).
Such are possible interpretations of the symbol of the kiss as used in the Sacred Language.
12. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.
13. And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and. kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
Interpreted in terms of Cosmogenesis, the purely passive nature of receptive matter (Rachel) in relation to the generating energy (Jacob) is indicated in these verses. Rachel speaks no words to Jacob; he it is who speaks to her—a reference to the emanation of creative energy as sound. In her own inherent nature, however, as substance already differentiated, Rachel acts positively in relation to her own original Source personified as Laban, her father, the spiritual Essence of the Root Substance (Mula-Prakriti). Although in the allegory these are presented as two separate principles, father and daughter, in reality they are one. Laban may be regarded as the positive and Rachel as the negative current of the triple creative force inherent in the matter-side of Root Substance. From the positive comes an active response; for Laban approaches Jacob, speaks to him and kisses him.
14. And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bom and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
15. And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
16. And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leafy and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
18. And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
20. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her,
SEPTENNIAL PERIODS IN THE HISTORIES OF UNIVERSES, NATIONS AND MEN
The seven-year periods through which Jacob serves Laban, for no other recompense than marriage to Rachel, represent all sevenfold cycles by which Manvantaras are completed and through which fruition occurs. In man, the Initiate, the seven-year periods represent the seven principles which must be awakened, and in each of which work (evolutionary development) must have been carried out before illumination and Initiations into the Greater Mysteries (personified by Rachel) can be attained.
The first seven years of Jacob’s labour bring him only a substitute for the wife of his choice, her sister Leah. Thus is portrayed a first completed cycle in which conceptual knowledge alone is gained as a substitute for the intuitively perceived truth. The first cycle must be made fruitful, parti¬cularly in and through the personal principles, these fruits being represented by Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, the children of Jacob and Leah.
Throughout the Book of Genesis the cosmic design, or divine geometry, is insisted upon. The Solomon’s Seal  or six-pointed star, and the hexagon formed by joining their points, are presented allegorically as the numerical and geometrical basis of the Universe, itself the product of the interaction and to be enumerated as the seventh. The two triplicities are continually presented by means of personifications. These are the primary triple Spirit, or threefold current of the creative Breath—the upward pointing triangle—and the same triplicity reflected and actively present in matter— the downward pointing triangle.
Thus the triple Essence of both Spirit and matter is revealed in the allegories, the former by parents and a son (the hero) and the latter by parents and a daughter (the heroine). The blending of the two families, culminating in the marriage of the son and daughter, is represented by the. interlacing or intermingling of the upward and downward pointing triangles. The enclosing circle of the Seal represents both the resultant Universe and the seventh principle involved. The two triplicities are, in fact, drawn from the same Source, which is the Absolute, the Kabbalistic Ain-Soph. They are therefore identical in their nature, the difference being only in the order of their appearance, and consequently of their Junction. The primary triplicity, the cosmic spiritual Triad, emerges first and officiates as the positive agent in the creative process. The secondary Triad instantly follows the emergence of the primary, of which it is a reflection in the vast mirror of cosmic Space.
SYMBOL OF THE MIRROR
Just as a reflected image in a glass mirror appears simultaneously with that which it reflects and is wholly dependent upon it for existence, so the reflection of the primary creative Triad in the “Mirror of Space” is contemporaneous with, but dependent upon, the appearance or manifestation of the original before that Mirror. Unlike the reflected image, however, which is purely illusory, the threefold reflection of the spiritual Triad in the “Mirror of Space” does have an actual existence and power to function. Admittedly that function is decided by, and dependent upon, the nature and activity of the primary Triad which is its cause. Nevertheless, since it is only a reflection and not a prime cause, it is regarded in occult philosophy as an illusion, although quite real in appearance when viewed from the matter side of a manifested unit.
These views were interestingly expressed in the Grecian Mysteries, wherein the Initiated Ones were shown secret objects, the full nature of which is not actually known. One suggestion is that they were the playthings of Dionysus, the Divine Child, as Creator and Fashioner of the Universe. These toys, it has been stated, were the five Platonic solids, indicating the axes for the growth of the chemical elements and crystals. Added to these were the top as model of the atom, and the ball as model of the Earth. The mirror upon which the young God (Bacchus as boy) is dancing and playing is to be regarded as a symbol of matter in which is reflected all that the Logos fashions on high.
When, therefore, as stated in the fourteenth verse of this Chapter of Genesis, Laban so positively affirms to Jacob that he is his “bone” and his “flesh”, he is in reality professing a profound spiritual truth; for Laban, his wife and two daughters, who are really one, are personifications of the lower or reflected upper Triad, whilst Isaac, Rebekah and their two sons, who are also really one, represent the origin of the reflection, the upward pointing triangle itself, the triple creative Spirit. The triplicity is further indicated by the three symbols of bone for the First Aspect, flesh for the Second and the home in which Jacob abode for a month for the Third. Thus the great cosmic principle of creation by reflection is most skilfully portrayed in this one verse alone.
The symbol of the mirror, whilst useful, might not perhaps be regarded as a wholly accurate representation of the function of matter in the creative process. If the reflected image were endowed with life and given creative responsiveness and productivity, then the truth would be correctly portrayed. Nevertheless, since all creative products are first conceived in the consciousness of the First Logos, and it is this primary “Idea” which is the model, the resultant Universe is in that sense but its reflection. The analogy should not be pushed too far, therefore, and the mirror symbol, although helpful, is not perfect. In general, however, it may be said that the causative “Idea” is the threefold Spirit, whilst the image is Nature herself, a faithful reflection but also endowed with creative and productive powers.
In man the mirror is primarily where the abstract and concrete aspects of intellect are merged or, technically, where the Causal and mental bodies are united. At this level the triple Ego, in terms of both consciousness and action, is reflected into the lower mental, the emotional and the physical bodies. These two triplicities become conjoined with varying degrees of symmetry and intimacy in each physical incarnation. As evolution proceeds through successive lives, symmetry and intimacy increase and this culminates in the ultimate production of a perfect manifestation of the Higher Triad in the lower trilplicity. The final achievement is well symbolised by the interlacing of the equilateral triangles, the enclosing circle of Solomon’s Seal representing in the Cosmos the Ring-pass-not and in man the Auric Envelope.
SYMBOLOGY OF THE NUMBERS THREE AND SEVEN
A month of thirty days, by reduction giving the number three, underlines and points to an esoteric meaning. The periods of seven years during which Jacob served Laban in return for the gift in marriage of each of the two daughters refer, as already suggested, first to the septenate which is formed by the two interlaced triangles with their synthesis as the seventh, and secondly to the sevenfold creative cycles. A major cycle is composed of a succession of these combined triplicities.
The primary creative cycle, which is always a complete round of a spiral movement of forthgoing and return, carries the creative process on the first part of its cyclic development in the direction of the ultimate imprisonment of highest Spirit in lowest matter. The greatest density of substance, however, is not reached in the first cycle, and Leah represents that early stage at whatever level may have been reached according to the point and plane of departure.
Another and second sevenfold cycle of creative activity, or service by Jacob to Laban, follows to its completion, which is the “wedding” of creative Spirit with matter of deeper solidity. This second cycle is allegorised by the second seven years of service and the marriage of Jacob and Rachel. Leah represents the psycho-spiritual planes of matter and consciousness and the bodies of man. These planes (Leah) are the first to be formed and to become active in conjunction with the spiritual creative potency (Jacob). The goal, however, is the production of matter of the deepest possible density and the creation and perfection of forms by the “marriage” of Spirit with it. Rachel represents this ultimate goal and so is the real love of Jacob, Leah personifying a stage—or a preceding sevenfold cycle—on the way to that consummation.
21. And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
22. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
23. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
24. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for handmaid.
25. And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
26. And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
27. Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
30. And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
32. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
33. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.
34. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
35. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
NIGHT AND DAY—SYMBOLS OF STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
The apparent deceit implied by the substitution of Leah for Rachel is a blind, as has already been said, though the statement that discovery was made in the morning is also of occult significance. Just as night and blindness symbolise a darkened state of mind as regards spiritual “light”, so the coming of day and the restoration of sight may be interpreted as re-entry into spiritual illumination and the consequent discovery of truth. In exemplification of this form of symbolism, Jacob is unaware during the night of the substitution of Leah for Rachel, but discovers the truth in the morning.
The further idea is indicated that Spirit pays a price for its “marriage” with matter, the cost being a loss of pre-marital purity, freedom and transcendence. These, however, are recovered on the returning arc when the centre of awareness, or focus of divine attention, is raised from the densest to higher levels of manifestation. Full spiritual realisation then follows; symbolically, it is day.
Applied to man, the darkness of night also represents the period of physical life from birth to death, whilst the light of day refers to the return after death to a more spiritual condition, with death itself as the dawn.
In another possible interpretation, night symbolises psycho-spiritual conditions of consciousness in which form temporarily rules life, matter imprisoning and blinding the intellect so successfully that interior awareness is lost and, in consequence, conscience with its spiritual impulses is in eclipse. These materialistic phases pass, however, this being portrayed by the coming of day, the high noon of which represents the peak of exaltation and expansion. Thus Jacob discovers Leah in the morning, and Peter experiences remorse when the cock crows thrice at the break of day.
The adventures and misadventures of Jacob in his early domestic life are all components of a great solar allegory which equally applies to man— and especially initiated man. The life history of Jacob, like that of other Patriarchs and heroes in Mythology, is susceptible of an Initiatory interpretation in which Jacob personifies every Initiate, whilst the events of his life are made to portray spiritual, psychological and physical experiences during successful passage through the Grades of the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries.
Every Initiate is as a microcosmic Sun God on Earth and his victories and temporary defeats, his obscurations and eclipses, are all reflections in him of solar events. His birth, for example, portrays the “birth” of the Solar Logos, meaning His so-called “new birth” at the commencement of the process of the emanation of a Universe. This method of presenting deeply occult truths was used by those who wrote the life stories of the Lord Shri Krishna, Horus of the Egyptians, the Lord Buddha and the Lord Christ. Identification of Jesus Christ with the creative Logos, or cosmic “Word”, is made clear by the Evangelists, and especially by St. John in the first five verses of his Gospel, which read as follows:
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. The same was in the beginning with God.
3. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Part of the mystery of the Greater Initiations is that within the Initiate there is focused and manifested microcosmically, often through physical experiences, the interplay of forces between the sun and the planet on which the Initiation occurs. This mystery reaches its height during an Avatara or “descent” of a Deity, when the activities and experiences of the overshadowing deific Presence partially reflect and portray certain procedures, relationships and phases of manifestation of the Solar Logos in His Universe.
The twelve children of Jacob, and later the twelve tribes of Judah, like the twelve disciples of Jesus, typify the Signs of the Zodiac. Each Sign, in its turn, represents one of the deific attributes, powers and Orders of Beings or Dhyan Chohans. These become successively preponderant in the spiritual influence radiated upon a planet throughout each of the Zodiacal epochs during which the sun passes through the Sign.
Arbitrary though these Signs in the heavens may seem, being made up as they are of groups of stars which apparently have no figurative connection with each other whatsoever, they do nevertheless both represent in themselves, and focus upon the Earth, special types of cosmic and solar energies. Although, owing to the absence of any real direct connection between the component stars of a constellation, no physical astronomer could ever have originated the idea of the combination of certain stars to form twelve Signs, with animal and human configurations and names, they actually do represent groups of such influences. These groupings could be known only to the highest Initiates and it was They, the very loftiest of the Adepts Who, first through the Ancient Mysteries and later through the Initiates thereof, gave to the humanity of this planet its knowledge both of the Zodiacal Signs and of the science of Astrology, which is based upon that knowledge.
THE BIRTH OF THE TWELVE TRIBES
Gen. 30: Rachel's grief for her barrenness: Bilhah beareth Dan and Naphtali: Zilpah beareth Gad and Asher: Leah beareth Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah: Rachel beareth Joseph. Jacob's new covenant with Laban: his policy to become rich.
1. And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
2. And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
3. And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
4. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
5. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.
6. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.
7. And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
8. And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
9. When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
10. And Zilpah, Leah's maid bare Jacob a son.
11. And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
12. And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son.
13. And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
14. And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found man¬drakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.
15. And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my sons's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee tonight for thy son's mandrakes.
16. And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
17. And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
18. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.
19. And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.
20. And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons; and she called his name Zebulun.
21. And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
22. And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
23. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
24. And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
This Thirtieth Chapter of the Book of Genesis is a characteristic example of portions of the Pentateuch which even the most devout believer in the Bible as the inspired Word of God must find difficulty in accepting in the literal sense. The great Patriarch is shown as engaging in both marital and extra¬marital intercourse, having been encouraged by his wife in the latter, she up to that time being barren. In addition, the life story of Jacob shows him to have been guilty of the following evil deeds: by a despicable deceit planned by his mother he received the blessing which his father Isaac had designed to bestow upon his other son, Esau (Gen. 27); by a further deception he obtained the most valuable cattle of his father-in-law, Laban, and ensured for himself possession of the stronger of these (Chapter Thirty of Genesis, verses thiry-seven to forty-three).
In spite of this conduct Jacob was visited by God in person in a dream (Chapter Thirty-one of Genesis, verse twenty-four), and was later met by the angels of God at Mahanaim (Chapter Thirty-two of Genesis, verses one and two). Furthermore, he was personally instructed by God concerning his future travels and told to change his name to Israel, “for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed”. (Chapter Thirty-two of Genesis, verse twenty-eight). As if this were not enough, Jacob received both paternal and implied divine encouragement, as a result of which—by the production of eleven sons and one daughter—he was enabled to become the Patriarch of the twelve Tribes of Israel. Being commanded by God to “be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins.” (Chapter Thirty-five of Genesis, verses one, nine, ten and eleven et seq.). Indeed, it must be confessed that the greater part of this Chapter of Genesis contains subject- matter which is repugnant to both the intellect and the modern sense of morality. Readers might, in consequence, discard the Chapter as a whole, and even have their faith in the Bible as the inspired Word of God greatly shaken.
Fortunately, however, as the title and the themes of these Volumes imply, an alternative exists. This is to regard the scientifically impossible and morally offensive statements as delibarate blinds or covers for profound philosophical ideas—a view which receives support from the authorities quoted at the beginning of this book, and also from many other authors writing upon the subject. I repeat here one such inspiring statement:
“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.).
If this approach be adopted then the Thirtieth Chapter of Genesis, like many others in the Old Testament, may be carefully re-read with an eye to the presence of classical symbols and evidence of the use of the allegorical method of writing. At once some of such symbols are discovered, including mandrakes, trees, rods, water, watering troughs and breeding of cattle. Human procreative procedures are also frankly referred to and, with the aforementioned, may be susceptible of interpretation as allegories describing the emanation, involution and evolution of Universes and all that they contain, including the Monads of men. I have myself examined the Chapter from this point of view and now advance for consideration the results of its interpretation as an example of the particular category of literature known as the Sacred Language.
At this point, however, should it be considered that insults to the intelligence, descriptions of concubinage, and the affirmation that the Supreme Deity of the Universe performed an obstetrical operation upon Rachel, are objectionable means of concealing wisdom, it may possibly be replied that what is offensive to modern morality and custom may not have been so amongst the tribes whose history is being recounted. Polygamy and intercourse with servants may have been regarded by them as permissible and natural, particularly—as was the case in this story—if the wife, because of her barrenness and the necessity for ensuring the family succession, actually instructed her husband (Chapter Thirty of Genesis, verses three to five) thus to engage in extra-marital intercourse.
Polygamy seems to have been a well-established institution in primitive Jewish society. The law regulated and limited the practice, whilst the Prophets and scribes looked upon it with disfavour. The first instance of bigamy occurred in the family of Cain (Chapter Four of Genesis, verse nine¬teen). Abraham had only one wife, but was persuaded to marry Hager (Chapter Sixteen of Genesis, verses two and three). Jacob married two sisters because he was deceived by his father-in-law, Laban (Chapter Twenty-nine of Genesis, verses twenty-three to thirty), and married his wives’ slaves at the request of his wives (Chapter Thirty of Genesis, verses four and nine). Polygamy was practised amongst the rich and the nobility (Chapter Eight of Judges, verse thirty; Chapter Two of I Chron, verse twenty-six; Chapter Four of I Chron, verse five; Chapter Eight of I Chron., verse eight). The tribe of Issachar practised polygamy (Chapter Seven of I Chron., verse four). David and Solomon had many wives (Chapter Five of II Sam., verse thirteen; Chapter Two of I Kings, verse one to three). The Mosaic law, while permitting polygamy, introduced many provisions which tended to confine it. A woman slave taken as a wife by the son of her master was entitled to all the rights of matrimony (Chapter Twenty-one of Ex., verses nine to eleven).
Furthermore, primitive peoples were inclined to attribute to divine intervention such unusual occurrences as the fruitfulness of a wife after many years of barrenness, although this may simply have been the result of natural physiological changes.
Occult philosophy contains the view, as partly indicated in the second Chart entitled “The Human Spirit as the Prodigal Son”, facing page 55 of Volume II of this work, that in their evolutionary pilgrimage the Monads of men achieve the unfoldment of germinal powers by means of the embodiment of their projected Rays in the mineral, plant, animal, human and superhuman kingdoms of Nature successively. As will be seen, the interpretation of the Chapters under consideration is largely based upon this view, which is implicit in both Hinduism and Islam, being stated in the latter as follows:
“I died from the mineral, and became a plant.
I died from the plant, and reappeared in an animal.
I died from the animal, and became a man.
Wherefore then should I fear? When did I grow less by dying?
Next time I shall die from the man,
That I may grow the wings of the angel.
From the angel, too, must I seek advance;
‘All things shall perish save His Face’.
Once more shall I wing my way above the angels;
I shall become that which entereth not the imagination.
Then let me become naught, naught; for the harpstring
crieth unto me: ‘Verily, unto Him shall we return.’”
Mesnavi (Thirteenth Century).
In the interpretations now offered I advance the view that the same doctrine is discernible in Hebraism, admittedly being presented under a heavy veil of allegory in the life story of Jacob. A quotation from the Zohar may permissibly be included at this point, for there one reads:
“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.
If the reader cares to examine with me this possible approach, then I offer suggested interpretations of the Thirtieth Chapter of Genesis, in studying which it has seemed to me that profoundly philosophic and occult ideas concerning Cosmogenesis are allegorically presented. It will be noted that later I refer to the Chaldean Mysteries, a deliberate choice since those Institutions were active at the period of the founding of the Hebrew nation. Their Hierophants and Initiates would therefore have been aware firstly of the danger of a direct revelation of power-bestowing Mystery teaching, secondly of the law that knowledge gained must be shared with humanity, and thirdly of the existence of the Sacred Language as a vehicle through which such knowledge might with reasonable safety be shared with their fellow men. The Sages of old knew that the whole Universe, spiritual, super-physical and physical, is composed of the continually interactive parts of one vast organism. Man, being a microcosm or miniature reproduction of all that the Macrocosm contains, possesses within himself, in however germinal a form as yet, the same powers as those which bring a Universe into being. Whoever becomes aware of this fact as an experience in consciousness, and awakens cosmic powers into activity within himself, could employ them for purely personal benefit, having become endowed with an almost irresistible capacity to control and oppress other human beings. This, I believe, is the reason why the teachers of old were under the necessity of both concealing and revealing their knowledge beneath a veil of allegory and symbol. Of the two alternatives—completely discarding these and similar Chapters of the Bible, or systematically applying to them the classical keys by which the allegories and symbols of the Sacred Language may be interpreted—T personally have found the latter to be the more acceptable.
JACOB AND HIS FAMILY AS PERSONIFICATIONS OF SOLAR GENERATIVE FORCES AND INTELLIGENCES
The Chaldean Mysteries were appointed as the especial recipients, guardians and deliverers of this deeply occult knowledge as far as the. Aryan Race is concerned. True, all the other Mysteries—especially those of Egypt,—shared in this knowledge, but the Chaldeans were the specialists amongst the Initiates of the planet in the twin sciences of Astronomy and Astrology, the latter being regarded as the “soul” of the former. Since the Hebrew Patriarchs derived their esoteric wisdom largely from the Chaldean Mysteries, the authors of the Pentateuch were informed of, but dare not directly reveal, the essential elements of the two sciences, as well as their mutual relationship. In their allegories, however, they disclose a great deal of information and in the strange and apparently repugnant stories of Jacob’s polygamy and concubinage, resulting in the birth of twelve children, certain elements of both Astronomy and Astrology are indirectly indicated.
In this sense Jacob is the sun itself, Leah is the psycho-spiritual Solar System, and Rachel is its etheric-physical aspect. Their handmaidens are merely attributes and aspects of themselves, being personifications of gunas, planes and sub-planes. The products of the effect of fructifying solar rays upon the different types of matter are symbolised by the offspring, their natures being portrayed kabbalistically by their names and their Zodiacal correspondences by their characters and ways of life.
In this reading Jacob represents the sun, physical and superphysical, source of the Fohatic energy of the Solar System. The women with whom he associates stand for the planes of Nature with their subdivisions and attributes. The children, in their turn, are the products of the interplay between solar energy or Fohat and the tattvas and sub-tattvas of which, in both its superphysical and physical aspects, Prakriti consists.
In another possible interpretation Leah represents the combined Dhyan Chohans of the formless or arupa and Rachel those of the form or rupa planes, whilst their handmaidens represent the shaktis thereof, the auric forces and substances or free matter of the planes; for during Cosmogenesis and throughout cosmic evolution—in this case applying especially to our Solar System—the primary Dhyan Chohans are in the highest spiritual sense “married” to the First Logos and fructified by its outpoured Fohatic energy.
Jacob, who became the Patriarch of Israel, and his eleven sons and one daughter whose names were applied to the twelve Tribes, macro- cosmicale represent the whole of creation. This includes the totality of all beings resulting from all possible combinations of the One, the Three and the Seven Cosmocratores, the Dhyan Chohanic creative principles, Rays, Powers and Intelligences.
Twelve, in the deepest occult sense, is the true whole number, the totality of the Orders of creative “seeds” or potential powers and attributes resident in the First Emanation from Parabrahman. Ten is the number of evolutionary culmination and indicates the about-to-be-reborn Crown or Kether at the close of the cycle when all sinks back into the primary Pair, primordial Spirit and Matter, making in all twelve Principles.
Reuben and Joseph were related by their shared sonship of Jacob. Their mothers were different, however, Reuben being born of Leah and Joseph of Rachel. The incident of the mandrakes is introduced in verses fourteen to seventeen, where we read that Reuben discovered mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel asked for some of these, and when taunted by Leah with having already taken her husband, and now also wanting some of her son’s mandrakes, Rachel agreed to permit Jacob to cohabit with Leah on the understanding that she, Rachel, should receive some of the mandrakes. This agreement was kept, and as a result Issachar was born to Leah, whether or not because of her possession of mandrakes. On the other hand Rachel, who also received a portion of them, did not at that time conceive. Later, however, as recounted in verses twenty-two to twenty-four, Joseph was born of her.
The wrongly implied capacity of the root of the mandrake to cure sterility, as stated in verses fourteen et seq., of the Thirtieth Chapter of Genesis, is obviously unacceptable in its literary meaning. It must be assumed, therefore, that it is either a deliberate blind to conceal an occult truth or a complete mis-statement of scientific possibility; for the root of the mandrake possesses no capacity to induce conception in a hitherto sterile person. In verses Twenty-two and Twenty-three of the same Chapter it is recorded that God served Rachel in the capacity of a physical, personal gynaecologist, having successfully “opened her womb”.
Legendary occult properties apart, the mandrake is here supposedly used to represent the active creative energy and potentiality inherent in matter, which is symbolised by the earth in which the plant grows. Firstly, the mandrakes exist as a property and produce of Nature and are growing in a field, meaning the material field of evolution. Secondly, when Reuben digs up the mandrakes it is harvest time, meaning the fruition of a cycle and a period at which the creative life force has reached its culminating state of productivity. Not only has corn been grown, but new seeds also, ready for planting in their turn in the succeeding cycle. In this state and in this period of hyper-productivity Reuben, as the Logos of that cycle, “digs up” or extracts from Nature the essence of the creative power symbolised by the mandrake. Through his mother, the primordial substance of his cycle, he passes it on to the matter of the next cycle (Rachel), whose barrenness (quiescent condition) thereafter gives place to fertility (conception), the child being Joseph who is to be the Logos of the next dispensation.
If this view be accepted, the mandrake is being used as a symbol of Fohat, the inherent (growing) creative power and potentiality of all Nature, and it is this power which must be handed on by the Logos of one System to the Logos of its successor. The intermediaries, or conveying media, are the substance of the preceding System (Leah) and that of the new System, as yet unfertilised (Rachel, hitherto barren). This essential transmission of the innate and completely expressed creative energy and faculty, and the handing on of Office from one dispensation to the next, are most faithfully and carefully described by various skilfully invented allegories and symbols in the Pentateuch and throughout the Bible.
In the purely occult meaning, in which Mystery Rites are revealed, the preservation of the succession of Hierophants is also indicated. Reuben is the Initiator of one epoch or period who, having completed (harvest time) and brought to fulfilment his “year” of Office, hands on his “Word” or creative and Hierophantic power and position. Leah, his mother, represents the Mysteries as a whole, and especially the Temple and its Officers and Brethren of the Reuben cycle. Rachel, in her turn, personifies the Mysteries for the new cycle in which Joseph is to be Reuben’s successor.
The other ten Tribes typify the totality of the creative Powers in manifestation and the essential Officers in the Temples of the Mysteries. According to occult philosophy these Powers are inherent in man, who is the synthesis of all Universes and of every Mystery Temple and Rite. The so-called “cry” which the mandrake is said to utter when pulled from the earth may possibly have been given an occult significance in reference to both the creative “Word” by which Cosmogenesis is initiated and the Word which a Hierophant speaks at the installation of his successor.
Microcosmically, the mandrake represents the Monadic Ray, the Atmic fire, which is projected into the Causal Body after individualisation. From this union Buddhic or Christ consciousness is “born”. Reuben personifies the Monad, Leah the Causal Body and Rachel the personal vehicles, particularly the physical in this interpretation.
25. And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
26. Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.
27. And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.
28. And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.
29. And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.
30. For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thet since my coming; and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?
31. And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock.
32. I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire.
33. So shall my righteousness answer for me in lime to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.
34. And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.
35. And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
36. And he set three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
37. And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strokes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
38. And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.
39. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
40. And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle.
41. And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.
42. But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob's.
43. And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
Although the incidents accompanying Jacob’s departure are admit¬tedly questionable in their morality, it is possible that they veil a deep esoteric revelation. The story is therefore now examined as being an allegory descriptive of laws and processes operative in the emanation of both Universes and the Monads of men. The choice and combination of both subject-matter and objects support this possibility. Amongst these are: ringstraked rods of three different woods placed in the gutters in the watering troughs; drinking cattle conceiving, their offspring being coloured by the parental sight of the pilled rods, green, brown and white; goats, rams and ewes of the sheep; the teraphim; the marital customs of Jewish women at that time; Jacob himself and his two wives and family; Jacob’s dream of ladder with angels ascending and descending; the pillar; and the covenant between Laban and Jacob—all of these are susceptible of interpretation in the terms of the Sacred Language as Macrocosmic and microcosmic generative procedures.
Studying the story from this point of view, the narrative tells that a new dispensation, that of Jacob, is about to succeed its predecessor, that of Isaac his father. Jacob has been sent to Padanaram—the original family home—there to choose his wives and consorts. Eleven sons and one daughter are born to him. Herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats are obtained by means of selective breeding, Jacob marking them with his own distinguishing brand. Interpreting these actions as allegories of procedures in the emanation of Universes, Macrocosmically Jacob may be regarded as personifying the Logos of a new dispensation. In the capacity of the positive creative potency the Logos (Jacob) unites with the negative potency or root substance in both its noumenal (Leah) and phenomenal (Rachel) aspects. Jacob thus represents the creative Logos Who brings forth “Sons of God” and “Morning Stars” (his children), the Cosmocratores-to-be, the Sephiroth or Dhyan Chohans.
Thus interpreted, the otherwise strange story may be seen as a typical symbolic description of the processes followed in the earliest phases of the emergence and manifestation of the active Logos of a new Universe. The Monads of the Universe-to-be (Jacob’s flocks) are given into the charge of the Logos, Who at once imprints upon them His own chosen characteristics by which they are differentiated from the hosts of “pure”, undifferentiated Monads of the pre-cosmic phase. All Logoi, of whatever degree, produce this effect upon both the evolutionary field and the evolving units. Having thus established the tattvic qualities according to
His design, which is drawn from universal Ideation, the Logos proceeds to project the whole mentally conceived and “created” Cosmos into the realm of matter with its evolving forms (the land of Canaan). The Padan-aram period is that of Ideation or Archetypal thought. The Canaanite period is that of projection and evolution.
THE SYMBOLISM OF TREES
The tree is the central symbol in this remarkable allegory. Throughout the Bible it is employed to represent the omnipresent, ever active, prolific, creative life-force inherent in all substance, whether superphysical or physical—meaning Nature herself. The symbol is well chosen, for the tree draws its sustenance from the earth (Prakriti), the roots being the means by which it is drawn up, collected and individualised into a single localised area of activity. The extracted nutriment and natural energy become concentrated therein, later to flow along the vertical trunk. Withdrawn from the earth, the element of air is entered and at a certain height from the ground the general shape of the root system is partially reproduced in the pattern of the branches.
Trees, whether deciduous or evergreen, are obedient to the law of cycles, successive, regularly spaced, seasonal periods of creative activity and of quiescence constituting their life. The principle of growth from a potential or seed-like condition, characteristic of spiritual as well as of physical evolution, is also displayed. Each phase culminates in the production of new seeds, and in this may be discerned that universal principle under which minor cycles contribute to the fulfilment of a major cycle. Leaves, by their inbreathing and outbreathing, also represent the phases of alternation through which all objective manifestations pass.
The beauty and the symmetry of the whole tree exemplify the harmony and unity upon which Creation is founded. These attributes are further portrayed by the colour and form of branch, leaf, flower, seed-vessel and seed. Intelligence is also plainly manifest in the methods of acquiring life needs, even if only as the mysterious, instinctual self-help observable when studying the plant kingdom of Nature. Seed distribution is a further example of this dawning mentality. The seeds of many trees are broad¬cast by the wind which, playing upon their perfectly curved, propeller-like wings or, as in the case of the dandelion, wafting along its filmy, gossamer, seed-carrying “parachutes”, carries them far and wide so that deposit in suitable ground is ensured for at least a proportion of them.
Lastly, the tree provides shade for animals and men, shelter for birds and, more especially, secure nesting places in winch they, in their turn, may reproduce their kind in seasonal succession. Food for man and beast—fruit and seed which nourish them—are also produced by the tree, which may justly be regarded as a perfect symbol of the protean, creative life principle of the Universe. For these reasons, doubtless, it was chosen by those ancient Scriptural writers who, by allegory and symbol, sought to reveal the operation of universal laws.
POPLAR, HAZEL AND CHESTNUT TREES
In the story of Jacob and the production of specially marked cattle, three kinds of trees are mentioned—the green poplar, the hazel and the chestnut. This choice may be of deep significance, for an occult tradition suggests that each of those trees has its own especial properties, one of the currents, and so qualities, of the creative life-force preponderating. In general terms, and allowing for exceptions in different species of the same genus, the poplar could be regarded as representing the positive polarity, the chestnut the negative, and the hazel being expressive of the combined, harmonised, equi-polarised and so relatively neutral currents. This may be the reason for Jacob’s choice of these three trees for his experiment in cattle breeding, the description of which is hardly acceptable in its literal reading.
THE SYMBOLISM OF RODS
In man, in terms of the Sacred Language, rods refer to the human spine, as also to the currents of the creative life-force which play along the spinal cord. This triple Serpent Fire is indicated by the rods of the three types of trees. The removal of the bark may possibly have been performed spirally to produce a spiral design along the rod, further suggesting the Serpent Fire. The revealing or uncovering of the white wood beneath the bark symbolises the bringing of the white fire of the divine will out of quiescence and pre-cosmic concealment into activity. The suggestion that Jacob’s action in taking these rods, stripping them in a certain way and placing them in the gutters in the watering troughs, so producing specially marked cattle, is in its literal sense an affront to the intelligence and therefore a clear sign that an undermeaning of importance exists. The troughs themselves are vehicles for water, symbol of universal substance which has been rendered active and specialised, differentiated and employed for cosmogenetic purposes. The coition of the male and female cattle indicates clearly that creative processes in general are being described.
The intrusion of the incredible into a supposedly historical record, and the description as a fact of that which is extremely improable, are clear indications that in this phase of the narrative the authors were writing in the language of symbols. When this occurs, as it often does in scriptural literature, the hidden wisdom of the Sanctuary is generally being revealed. If this approach be accepted, then as if by magic that which has hitherto been incredible becomes credible, is indeed perceived as a revelation of divine truth. The actors become representatives of deific powers and the events descriptive of fundamental laws, whilst natural objects are alight with spiritual significance. So is it in this remarkable story of Jacob’s cattle breeding. Whilst the outer story insults the intelligence, an esoteric interpretation reveals the deepest truths.
Trees are the central symbols employed and, as has been said, each of those chosen has particular occult properties according to the pre¬ponderance in its substance of one or other of the basic triple qualities or attributes of matter—the guna and the electric energies and polarities associated with them. The chestnut, for example, whether its fruit be edible or not, as already stated, represents the negative polarity (tamas), the feminine principle and the matter aspect of the creative triplicity. The hazel possesses positive and negative qualities (sattva), and so is responsive to both influences whilst in the poplar the positive is accentuated (rajas). The atomic structure of its wood makes it a particularly good conductor of certain occult forces. In the hands of one gifted with the faculty of water divination, a hazel twig is especially responsive to the electro-magnetic radiations from that element, in Sanskiit named apas— that tattva forming the manifestation of the Third Logos on the astral plane with which water is in correspondence. Diviners are those people in whose constitution, superphysical and physical, water preponderates. The hazel twig, Y-shaped and therefore formed with a central stem and right and left hand branches, provides such people with an organic detector, the substance of which is endowed with the same properties as those existing within themselves. The combination makes possible the activity upon which divination depends and by which it is produced.
JACOB AS PERSONIFICATION OF THE LOGOS OF A NEW UNIVERSE
In general the allegory of Jacob and the cattle, whilst referring to these and other semi-occult ideas, in reality reveals fundamental creative processes. As has been said, the Logos of a new dispensation (Jacob) is receiving from the great granary of the Cosmos (Laban and his flocks) those “seeds” or Monads (sheep, cattle and goats) which through His ageny, and under His direction, will be sent forth upon a new round of the evolutionary spiral.
Interpreted from this point of view, Jacob himself represents fructifying Spirit directed by Universal Mind, which then becomes a creative Logos of a Universe or the Director of the evolution of any component sub-cycle. Through his creative activity as husband he represents the masculine potency. In his directive activity (cattle breeding) he represents Universal Mind, which shapes substance according to the Archetype delivered to and perceived by him as model.
Jacob’s wives represent universal substance—Leah the superphysical and Rachel the physical, or Leah the life planes and Rachel the form planes of Nature. The two handmaids, Zilpah and Bilhah, typify sub¬sidiary creative attributes of those planes, sub-tattvas, and as personifications they are inseparable from their mistresses. The twelve children each represent one of the creative Powers, Intelligences, Rays and Zodiacal attributes in the Universe. Each is thus one of the Sephiroth, and it is noteworthy that all were born before the cattle breeding experiment begins. This was necessary as they personify the Directive Intelligences, the “firstfruits” to Whom the Logos delivers the creative impulse, the creative Archetype and the creative power. These “Beings” are mirrored in the heavens—physically as the Signs of the Zodiac and in man, the Monad-Ego, as the twelve Zodiacal attributes which ultimately are to be developed to a “perfected” state.
To sum up, the first twenty-four verses of this Chapter recount allegorically the preparations for the production of the vast arena—the Universe-—in which the drama of involution and evolution was to be enacted. The formative Agencies (the Sephiroth) had all emerged and each had been given his or her individual character and name. It is of interest to note that the names of the dramatis personae are of occult significance, their Kabbalistio, numerical and mantric values being expressive of their characteristics and their functions. Nevertheless all proceed from the One Alone, personified by Jacob, whose life story is thus susceptible of interpretation as being descriptive of divine creative principles and processes, however heavily veiled in allegory and symbol. If this view be acceptable, then certain portions of the Pentateuch may be regarded as revelations of occult wisdom delivered to mankind by Initiates of the Sanctuaries of the Mysteries of old.
From verse twenty-five onwards the processes of the preparation of matter and of the projection of the Archetype to the end of the production of forms is described in outline. These forms and the seeds of consciousness and life which will inhabit them, being drawn as it were from the universal supply (Laban), must all be stamped with the individuality or group of vibratory frequencies of the Logos of the new dispensation. Thus ultimately they produce a distinctive variation on the original and further developments throughout the Universe, great or small, and all that it will contain.
As stated, the changing by Jacob of the appearance of the rods of the three trees refers allegorically to the production of this imprint. It, in its turn, is threefold, namely ringstraked, speckled and spotted. This fact of differentiation naturally separates both substance and seeds from those within the original cosmic supply, symbolised by Laban and his estate. Thereafter a gradual and increasing separation occurs between the two Patriarchs. In the allegory Jacob is made to take his household, his herds and his possessions into another land (Canaan), symbolical of the next cycle, its evolutionary field and its future attainments.
A suggested microcosmic interpretation of these verses will be found near the end of Chapter VIII of this Part.
JACOB BECOMES THE SECOND PATRIARCH OF ISRAEL
Gen. 31. Jacob departeth secretly from Laban: Rachel stealeth away her father's images. Laban pursueth Jacob: their covenant at Galeed.
1. And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.
2. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
3. And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
4. And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,
5. And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me.
6. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.
7. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
8. If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.
9. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.
10. And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.
11. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
12. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee,
13. I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
14. And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?
15. Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.
16. For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is our’s, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
17. Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;
18. And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan-aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
In advance of a more detailed interpretation, it may here be stated that an allegorical description of a cycle of forthgoing and return is given by means of the story of Jacob’s departure, Laban’s pursuit, his reunion with Jacob and the making of a covenant between them. Three days passed before the absence of Jacob was discovered, this being followed by a seven-day successful pursuit, recriminations, and the ultimate restoration of harmonious relationships between the two main characters. A pillar was erected as a witness of mutual agreement and as a promise that neither would ever pass over it in order to harm the other.
The story bears a distinct resemblance to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, with Jacob portraying the main character and his departure from Laban’s house corresponding to the departure of the younger son from the family home. The stealing of the teraphim has a possible parallelism to the hunger of the Prodigal Son, who “would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat” —the deepest level of descent. The reunion and covenant between Jacob and Laban may be correlated to the joyously celebrated return of the Prodigal Son to the father’s home.
The pursuit of Jacob by Laban is an allegory of the responsiveness of matter to Spirit and of their mutual attractiveness, while the supposed complaint describes, perhaps, the innate resistance of matter to Spirit. No region of Cosmos is without the full presence of creative thought, universal Intelligence being omnipresent. Ideation rules all, creates all, designs all, produces and perfects all. The One Mind is the One God, all-inclusive, all-powerful, all-productive, according to eternal law. This deific Mind, inherent in Prakriti, present and active within all differentiated regions of space, is the Logos, the cosmic Christos, the masculine element in Creation, as Space itself is the feminine. These two—Logos and Space —are not to be regarded as separate entities or powers, but a complementary and supplementary pair, each essential to the other’s existence as also to their creative and evolutionary activity. The third or product —the Universe—is the result of this interaction. It includes equipolarised life currents, inter-harmonised life principles, states of human and divine consciousness, and all objective creations such as Universes with their suns, planets and everything that lives and evolves upon them.
The occult cosmogonies of the Ancients separate the positive and negative agencies, presenting them as male and female Deities, or heroes and heroines, according to the customs of the Sanctuaries from which such allegories emanated. In India, Egypt and Greece gods and goddesses fulfilled these roles. In Chaldea and Syria, Patriarchs and their wives and offspring also played leading parts. In these Biblical verses Laban and his estates represent Prakriti, the Eternal Source of all. His daughters and handmaids are the negatively polarised currents, whilst after his birth in the preceding cycle Jacob assumes in the emergent cycle the positively polarised Office of creative Logos. The whole drama is enacted in Padan- aram, the land of Laban, a topographical symbol for the Prakritic source— Laban’s original stock. Jacob only takes the existent possessions of Laban, meaning the inherent powers and attributes of Prakriti, and from them produces the new Universe which is typified by the Israelite nation with its twelve (Zodiacal) tribes established in the land of Canaan.
Whilst the account given in these verses of the relationship between Jacob and Laban, his father-in-law, may be accepted as providing an example of human foibles, the direct intervention by the Lord affirmed in the third verse of the Twenty-first Chapter of the Book of Genesis can hardly be regarded as part of the history of a tribe and certain of its members. Human beings do practise deceptions upon each other, as did Laban upon Jacob concerning his wages. Not unnatural, also, was the counter action by Jacob and Rachel of stealing Laban’s images. Nevertheless the supreme Deity of the Universe, the Lord of the Sun, of the planets and of all kingdoms of Nature, is surely not likely to participate in the minor affairs of members of wandering tribes.
The employment of deceptions and trickery has already received explanatory comments, which apply in this case also, giving to them profound significance as allegories of creative procedures in Universe and man. Since, as above stated, divine intervention is so extremely unlikely, an intention on the part of the authors to reveal secret wisdom under a veil may reasonably be assumed. In such an approach the story would be lifted out of the limitations of time, place and personalities into a realm of ideas which possess timeless and universal significance. The eleventh verse of this Chapter, in which an angel of God is made to speak to Jacob in a dream, may be similarly read as underlining the indication of the presence of a divine wisdom in a human story.
19. And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.
20. And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled.
21. So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead.
22. And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled.
JACOB FLED FROM LABAN, WHO PURSUED AND OVERTOOK HIM
The first half of the cycle of forthgoing and return is indicated in these verses. The Monadic life emanates from the original source (the Solar Logos) into the new field. When once the furthest point of the outward journey is reached, actually after passage through three and a half minor cycles, the pathway of return is entered upon. The spiritual influence from the divine source thereafter begins increasingly to be felt, Spirit and matter drawing closer together. Symbolically, the Lord stretches out His hand to draw back the life and consciousness which had departed. Allegorically, Laban sets forth in pursuit of Jacob “on the third day that Jacob was fled” (v. 22).
23. And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.
24. And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
25. Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead.
The reunion on Mount Gilead symbolises the meeting of the descend¬ing spiritual power of the Logos with the life and consciousness which had gone forth, and on its return journey was now spiritually elevated to its greatest possible height (the mount). On the arc of return in every cycle there is a point at which the indwelling life and consciousness become sufficiently evolved and self-consciously aware to be responsive again to pure Spirit. Symbolically, Jacob and Laban meet on Mount Gilead.
26. And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
27. Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
28. And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
29. It is in the power of my hand to do you hurl: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
30. And now, though thou wouldst needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
31. And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Per adventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me.
32. With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.
33. And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel's tent.
34. .Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not.
35. And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.
The reproach symbolically uttered by Spirit (Laban) to matter (Jacob) signifies the awareness by consciousness of the limitations of form, for these two have not yet been unified. Furthermore, Spirit itself is caught, imprisoned, concealed within matter, and made subject to the pairs of opposites and to alternation between freedom and restriction of conscious¬ness. This is revealed in the theft of the images or gods and their concealment by Rachel, representing densest substance, whilst subjection to alternation is referred to by the monthly “custom of women”. In the Macrocosm the teraphim represent the Monads themselves, made as they are in the image of their Creator.
The flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, the offspring and the wives', all represent Monadic Rays projected into the new Universe and mani¬fested there in varying stages of evolution. The teraphim, on the other hand, typify the Spirit-Essence, the Monads, the Jivatmas, sent forth on their pilgrimage through matter and for a time hidden and lost to full spiritual awareness. The concealment in the “camel’s furniture” (v. 34) refers to descent into the sub-human'kingdoms of Nature, whilst Rachel’s seated posture thereon suggests the completeness of the descent, the concealment in matter, or the loss of spiritual awareness on the path of forthgoing.
A profound psycho-spiritual significance in both the Macrocosmic and microcosmic interpretations may thus be seen in the theft of the teraphim, the method of concealment, and the fruitless search by Laban in Rachel’s tent.
If it be presumed that Jacob represents creative Spirit, and that Laban and his household possessions and gods personify creative substance, then this difficult Chapter and these conversations become comprehensible. Laban and his daughters represent Prakriti; his goods the already awakened potentialities of this root substance; and his people, herds and flocks the seeds or potentialities of all the possible forms and beings which the new cycle will produce.
PICTURE OF THE GODDESS NUT AND THE GODS SEB AND SHU
The Egyptian system of Cosmogony included the Hindu concept that in Parabrahman Spirit and matter are united in absolute equilibrium during Pralaya, and separated during Manvantara to become the creatively active, masculine and feminine parents of the first Universe. The Egyptians in the Sanctuary evidently knew this, and composed an allegory for the populace. In illustration of this, Heaven and Earth are personified as the goddess Nut and the god Seb respectively, from whose marriage came forth all that has been, is, and shall be. These two deities were invested with human forms, and the Earth god Seb was said to be extended beneath the goddess Nut, named the “Starry One” because her body was studded with stars. The oncoming of Manvantara is allegorised as the separation of Seb and Nut by Shu, the god of the air, who lifted up Nut from the prostrate Seb and sustained her there, thus providing the essential third in this pre-cosmic trinity. This act is represented in many beautiful pictures which show the goddess stretching out her arms and her slender legs, with her body arched and her head drooping down so that she envelops the recumbent Seb.
THE SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TERAPHIM
Whilst the teraphim were household images used as idol-oracles, they may also be regarded as symbols of the sparks of the primordial flame, the highest essence of the creative power of conjoined Purusha-Prakriti, the Monads of Devas and men. These may be thought of as single spiritual entities which in the course of their evolution successfully become men, Initiates, Supermen and Dhyan Chohans. Each Monad is thus a miniature creative Logos, with the potentialities of all beings in all kingdoms innate within it. Monads are therefore to be regarded as seeds of Cosmoi in both the masculine and feminine potencies. At the con¬summation of a major cycle they emerge as fully unfolded, creative Logoi.
The presence of these “seeds” in an awakened state is the essential factor in cosmic reproduction. The teraphim represent these God-like creative potencies without which the Logos of each new cycle could not become manifest. Hence in the allegory Rachel, as the feminine potency of Prakriti, “steals” the teraphim from the masculine potency of Prakriti (Laban), and presumably eventually delivers them to the “new” Logos (Jacob, her husband). Jacob is said to be unaware of the theft, whilst Laban has discovered it and at once institutes the fruitless search. If the incident be regarded, however, as an allegorical account of the transference of creative powers from one dispensation to its successor, then Rachel’s action would be a legitimate, even preordained and necessary, expropriation of the elements necessary to the fulfilment of her husband’s cosmogenetic task. As Jacob later implies (verses 38-42), everything that he removes to his new field of activity is his due by virtue of his years of service. In truth, the whole suggestion of detection, recrimination, wrath and ultimate “covenant”, is hardly acceptable literally and so points to concealed truths, as here partly outlined.
To make Rachel conceal the images and prevent a complete search by pretending to be in a state of creative rest (“the custom of women is upon me”) is a most skilful use of the allegorical method of writing. The opposite is the truth since, as Nature, she is at that time in a state of extreme creative and evolutionary activity, as is indicated by her posture, or the relative physical positions of the teraphim and herself. Here we are reminded of the superior posture, or position, of the goddess Nut reclining upon the God Seb in the Egyptian Cosmogony, the purpose being to indicate the enclosing, the enfolding and the covering relationship of Prakriti, as the eternal Fount, to Purusha, as the eternal Breath. The reader is here referred to the diagram and accompanying explanatory statement facing this page. Laban’s search is unsuccessful because, in truth, no illegal theft had occurred and what had to pass must and did pass.
36. And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?
37. Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.
38. This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.
39. That which was torn of beasts 1 brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.
40. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
41. Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle; and thou hast changed my wages ten times.
42. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.
“THE WORLD IS BUILT UPON THE POWER OF NUMBERS”—PYTHAGORAS
The several numbers such as 7, 6, 10 and 20 which are introduced into the narrative may admittedly be merely historical. Since, however, they possess distinct symbolical meanings, I here offer an attempted interpretation of the passages in which they occur—particularly those concerning the involution and evolution of life, first from spiritual levels into the mineral and later through the plant, animal and human kingdoms and thence on to superhumanity, “. . . the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.
The number 7, for example, represents not final perfection but the completion of a phase of development, followed by temporary cessation. The number 6, thus regarded, refers to a stage in which a cycle is not yet completed, but nearly so. The number 10 is a combination of the vertical line of self-consciousness and the ellipse or circle of super-consciousness. It is the number of perfection and suggests the completion of the out¬pouring of the life-forces through a directive Logos. The number 20, or 2, stands for the dualism of manifested life, the Divine on the one hand and Nature on the other, Spirit and matter and their inter-relationships.
If this system of numerical symbology be applied to the bargainings between Laban and Jacob, then the numbers offer a clue enabling one to interpret the story as an allegory of the emanation and evolution of a Universe. Mathematical law governs the production of Universes, and the 'basic numbers are guardedly given. As stated below, the 20 years of service by Jacob to Laban in return for Leah (7 years), Rachel (7 years) and the cattle (6 years), and the 10 changes in his wages, signify the successful productiveness of a pair (20). The time period for and success¬ful phases of the completion of a single cycle (7), the approaching cessation or close of a third cycle (6) in which the animal kingdom is launched on its evolutionary journey, and the culmination of the productive processes (10), are all indicated.
Examining this law and these mathematical procedures, the number 2 —however many the ciphers which are placed after it—is the number of creatively inter-active Spirit-matter, positive-negative, mind-substance, or of every other generative pair. Universal genration and both potential and actual fruitfulness are implied by the number 2, which states the presence of the eternal pair. The ciphers or noughts after a number may indicate—and do so in very precise Cosmogonies and allegories—the particular cycle in a seven-fold major cycle the opening of which is being described.
JACOB SERVES LABAN SEVEN YEARS EACH FOR LEAH AND RACHEL
The statement concerning Jacob’s two seven-year periods of service for each of Laban’s daughters, Leah and Rachel, may refer to the evolution of life through the superphysical planes of Nature on the downward arc and embodiment at the deepest physical level (mineral), followed by a gradual return to the Source on the upward arc via the plant, animal and human kingdoms. This is partly illustrated in the diagrams facing page 42, to which attention is here drawn.
The number 7 is that of the total constituent phases of which a complete period of activity is composed. The third 7 years is not wholly completed in this allegory, only 6 phases in the third cycle having been passed through as indicated by the 6 years during which Jacob served Laban for the cattle. If the successive evolutionary advances of life and consciousness through the kingdoms of Nature from mineral to man are indicated by these numbers, then the third cycle will be that in which consciousness is established at the mobile, vocal, animal level with the plant stage intervening. This idea is supported by Jacob’s statement that the 6 years of the third period of his service to Laban was “for thy cattle” —a possible reference to the mineral kingdom of Nature.
The fact that two daughters have previously been received by Jacob as wages does not necessarily imply that evolution has as yet reached the human phase; for Leah and Rachel, in this sense, represent Nature herself at the superphysical (Leah) and physical (Rachel) levels. Leah is the Soul of Nature, its noumenon. Rachel is the substance of Nature, its phenomenon. The progress of life and consciousness from noumenon, through phenomenon and back again to the Source, passing.—as said above—through mobile, sound-making, animal forms, may be referred to in this part of the allegory.
The Logos-to-be (Jacob) labours in the material fields (of Laban) for the wages or reward of evolutionary progress through the physical and superphysical kingdoms of Nature and levels of awareness. As stated, the third cycle is still incomplete, having passed through only six phases (years of service for the cattle), though nearing the fulfilment indicated in Jacob’s reference to the ten times changed rate of payment; for 10 is a whole number implying the completion of one cycle and readiness for entry into its successor.
Further progress demands departure from the limitations of partially modified root substance. This will make possible advance into a more highly individualised field and state of consciousness. Thus, in the allegory Jacob and his estate must be moved to Canaan, where he will continue the work of his patriarchal predecessors (the Logoi of preceding Universes). A creative link with the original Source must, however, be maintained. This is recognised as a principle and is allegorically described in verses forty-three et seq., which are now considered.
43. And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?
44. Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
45. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.
46. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap.
47. And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.
48. And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed;
49. And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
50. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; God is witness betwixt me and thee.
51. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee;
52. This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for ham.
53. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.
54. Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.
55. And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
COVENANT AT GALEED
In the foregoing verses Laban affirms the family unity and identity and proposes a covenant, whereupon Jacob “took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap”. The symbol of the pillar here employed is phallic, indicating that the link or covenant between the eternal and the temporal, the root substance and the Universes and forms created out of it, consists of the creative fire, process and act.
Spirit penetrates vertically the horizontal recipient—productive matter. A right angle or square is thus formed by the upright pillar and the horizontal earth on and in which it stands. The substance of the pillar called Galeed is stone, the solid rock representing root substance. Separated stones typify differentiated areas in it, whilst erected pillars are emblems of that substance shaped and “set up” in the image of the Creator or of the creative potency, also symbolised by the lingam.
The food partaken of conjointly as part of the ceremony of the covenant indicates that intimate interplay which, at the close of the third cycle, has been achieved between Spirit and matter, life and form, creative power and recipient substance. This is the basic significance of every symbolical feast, agape, communion. The principle of transmission of original virtue and power, so continually insisted upon in the Biblical narratives, is also here indicated both in the ceremony of erection and feasting and in the naming of the pillar. The interplay of words suggest; a portion of a Mystery Ritual, as well as the permanent establishment of certain attainments and vibratory frequencies. In this story each protagonist makes a different choice, Jacob from the side of Spirit and Laban from the side of matter. Jacob’s choice of “Galeed” (witness-heap) indicates the close of a cycle and entry into its successor, or the transference of the archetypal idea or pattern, as also of the life and the creative power, from one cycle to the next. Apart from the literal translation, “Galeed” indicates the formative process from the point of view of Spirit, life, consciousness, Universal Mind.
“Jegarsahadutha” (mound of testimony) means the same as Galeed but from the point of view of matter, form, vehicles, or the matrix from which a birth has occurred. “Mizpah” (a look-out) as Laban’s second choice of name refers to the new Universe about to be emanated. “Jegarsahadutha”, with its six syllables, is a deeply occult word. “Jegar” thus used implies, in addition to its literal translation, a universal reservoir or MulaPrakriti, the conjoined yet quiescent Spirit-matter of Parabrahman. “Saha” represents manifested life, breath, being, whilst “dutha” indicates the progression of the creative function as an active process.
The apparent or exoteric meaning given by Laban to the foregoing words, and especially to “Mizpah”, correctly expresses the covenantal ceremonial and its purposes. Since the lesser follows the greater and the exoteric contains the esoteric, however deeply hidden, the human meaning given to the word “Mizpah” is acceptable. The name is potent also as a charm or a verbal talisman, the degree of its power depending upon the level of consciousness and interpretation at which the user employs the symbol.
The Chapter concludes with mutual promises, the eating of bread and the introduction of the symbols of “mount”, “night”, “morning”, “the kiss” and “the return”, these having already been interpreted. In the Macrocosmic sense these denote the culmination of a cycle (the mount), Pralaya (night) which follows, the opening of Manvantara (morning), the resumption of creative activity (the kiss), and entry into the evolutionary field or a new path of forthgoing (the Jacob cycle).
MAN, A UNIVERSE ON A SMALL SCALE
In their microcosmic meanings also, Chapters Thirty and Thirty-one of Genesis are of deep significance. In this interpretation Laban personifies the primordial Light, the Daivi-Prakriti, the substance, source and abiding place of the human Monad, which is represented by Jacob and his wives and their handmaidens. Jacob is married to them all because, within the Monad, when awkened to a new cycle of evolutionary progress, the masculine and feminine both inhere and become creatively interactive. The seven principles, sub-principles, and successive physical incarnations and their attributes then produced are typified by the children, the herds and the possessions. Preceding Chapters describe this creative life and action of the Monad and the transmission to the new individuality of the threefold Monadic attributes. These are symbolised by the markings on the cattle, which represent the three Aspects of the Deity within the Monad. The awakening of the creative currents into activity is allegorised in the marriages, the concubinages and the cattle-breeding.
All that has been said of the Macrocosmic process applies equally to the Monad, which is a Cosmos in miniature, although as yet only at its embryonic state and phase. First the interior creative forces, three in number, awaken into activity. Caduceus-like, the Monadic currents flow and intertwine, as symbolised by the rods of the three trees. Such triplicity is the protype, or model, for all subsequent activity which occurs and operates according to this pattern. All Monadic manifestations, in whatever kingdom of Nature, must follow this design of two oppositely polarised, inter-active forces spirally intertwined round a central current, usually symbolised by a rod, a staff or a pillar.
Througout the whole aeonic pilgrimage from heights to depths and back to heights again, the Caduceus is the pattern or inevitable “form” as well as symbol of all creative—as also redemptive—activity. All products are stamped, as it were, with this design. All forces and creative and growth processes follow this model. The spiral ascent of conscious¬ness, sustained by the Monadic sushumna, sutratma or “life-ray”, is also thus portrayed. The pillar erected on Gilead and called Galeed represents the central column of the Caduceus, as Laban and his family and herds personify one serpentine force and Jacob and his whole estate the other. The covenant between them made at the pillar, the feast eaten on the heap of stones, and the kiss of departure all describe in allegory the activity of forces following and playing round the central column of the Caduceus, the everlasting pillar, lingam or obelisk.
Applied to the Macrocosm, the Thirty-first Chapter of the Book of Genesis thus describes in allegory the nature of the three basic creative Powers, Intelligences and forces and their interactions to produce the “forms” of Universes and all that they will contain. The whole is preparatory to the opening of a new phase of divine creative activity, a new Manvantara, of whatever degree. As has been said, Laban is the eternal Source of all Powers and all “seeds”, whilst his daughters and their handmaidens represent the feminine or matter side of the one, triply polarised, creative Agency. Jacob and his servants personify the masculine potency and Joseph, the son of Rachel, typifies the product or third, the true heir and successor, who will later carry the creative and evolutionary procedure into the next—the post-Jacob—field. First, however, the post-Isaac era must be entered. As will be seen in the next Chapter, Jacob is about to become a Logos and Patriarch of his particular manifestation in the everlasting succession of Manvantaras and Pralayas. Having fulfilled their share of the task, Laban and Rebekah retire in favour of newly differentiated substance (Jacob-Rachel), from which the immediate successor is to be “born”.
Whilst the three constituent powers are essentially a trinity in unity, three aspects of a functional unit, so all the associates of the positive and negative personifications are, in their turn, components of a unit. Jacob (positive) and all his house, and Leah, Rachel and their handmaidens (negative) represent the two component streams and undulations, the attributes and potential powers and products, of the one creative Source (Laban).
At the end of Chapter Thirty-one of Genesis Laban as the one Producer, the eternal Monad, having given the primordial creative impulse, withdraws into silence and darkness (disappears from the story). Allegorically Laban, after making a covenant with the Logos of the new Universe (Jacob) in the presence and over the symbol of creative power (the pillar), returns to his own place, the MulaPrakriti of Parabrahman.
The pillar is thus regarded as representing the active, positive, creative potency in Cosmogenesis—the emanated, formative power which, as does the phallus in human procreation, penetrates matter (Yoni). The inclusion of the symbol of the pillar in the accounts in Genesis of the adventures and actions of the members of the first Hebrew patriarchal family, indicates an intention on the part of the authors both to reveal certain principles underlying genetic processes at the cosmic and the human levels, and to advise the student thus to examine the narrative.
Perpendicular objects such as tree-trunks, obelisks, the vertical arms of crosses, staffs and rods held in the hand, and the elevated portion of the symbol of the lingam, are all susceptible of interpretation as symbols of the positive, masculine potency in generative acts.
JACOB SEEKS REUNION WITH ESAU
Gen. 32: Jacob’s vision at Mahanaim: his message to Esau. He is afraid of Esau’s coming; and prayeth for deliverance: he sendeth a present to Esau: he wrestleth with an angel at Peniel, and is called Israel. He halteth.
1. And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
2. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
By means of allegory, the creative process is again described. The Logos-to-be summons his creative Powers and Intelligences, evokes and specialises them to his own individuality and to the frequencies or “Name” of the Universe-to-be. “Mahanaim” (two camps) may be interpreted as “great circle” or enclosing boundary, the automatic appearance and establishment of which is the first phenomenon of the preliminaries to creation or new production. Next must follow the differentiation of the one creative Power into a pair in preparation for the interplay of Fohat between Spirit and matter. This is described in the splitting of Jacob’s forces into two bands and their movement forward to meet Esau. Again it must be stressed that the whole process is interior and occurs within the area and being of a single Emanation.
HISTORY MAY VEIL TIMELESS TRUTHS
The interpreter of allegories which have a historical foundation must both recognise history when he reads it and discern the skilful use of historical narrative to conceal and reveal spiritual truths. Be it repeated, therefore, that history—and in many places exact history—is present in the Pentateuch. The supersensual is, however, continually introduced into the mundane and it is these constant interventions by the Lord God, by angels and by an unnamed man, and the relation of the dreams of heroes or heroines, that indicate to the interpreter the presence of a spiritual instruction. When introduced into narratives of events of long preceding eras, unlawful cohabitations are rarely—if ever—historical alone. They are sometimes used by allegorists as references to procreative unions of a perfectly natural character, an almost infinite variety of creative self- expressions by the first Emanation occurring when once the primary impulse has been imparted.
In the Chaldean Sanctuaries the cosmic, the solar and the individual or Monadic emanations, forthgoings and returns were all known and taught to Initiates. Moses, an Initiate of the Egyptian Mysteries, also derived his wisdom from this source. The interblending, identity and interaction of the cosmic, solar and Monadic emanations were also known and stressed in the very exact and highly scientific School of Cosmogony in Ancient Mesopotamia. Biblical authors were ordered to give this teaching to humanity, under the law that nothing must be withheld which could be safely revealed, and that no genuine seeker must ever be bereft of a source of knowledge. A Sanctuary is a misnomer from one point of view, for it is a place of concealment of that which must never be completely concealed. As heretofore explained, the Adept Guardians of knowledge, “the Keepers of the Sacred Light”, are bound under the most stringent laws to ensure that spiritual knowledge shall always be available to every worthy student capable of receiving and rightly using it.
In the then prevailing “dark age” (Kali Yuga) unworthy students abounded amongst mankind, and the Adepts had therefore both to conceal and reveal the Sacred Light. The establishment of the Sanctuary System and the invention of the Sacred Language of Symbols constitute Their solution of this problem. In the former the truth is taught direct to those whose evolutionary position, karma and ardour for knowledge bring them thereto. In the latter the wisdom, veiled it is true, is also made available to all the world. Despite the darkness (selfishness, sensuality and materialism) of the present age, a reversal of this procedure—the unveiling of truth hitherto concealed in allegory and symbol—is encouraged by the Teachers of the Race. In the author’s view one of Their representatives, H. P. Blavatsky, initiated this process amongst Western humanity in her two works, Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.
3. And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
4. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:
5. And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and women- servants; and I have se.it to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.
6. And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
7. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;
Esau, as the active creative potency, has been ceaselessly at work in his own, the Isaachian, Cosmos. Long before its culmination, prepara¬tions for its successor had begun. Jacob, as the Logos-to-be, had gone to the one Source and begun those preparations. Now he is ready to continue the succession. For this purpose triplicity is demanded. The One (Jacob) must become functionally a pair (Jacob and Esau) and a third (messengers) must pass, or interplay, between them. This is the key to the verses in which the Logos “becomes” an active Trinity in Unity, as symbolised both by Esau’s and Jacob’s two apparently opposed groups and by the division of Jacob’s people into two bands.
In the Symbolical Language subterfuge, fear and tortuousness are sometimes, and possibly in this instance, employed as blinds to cover up the profound cosmological verities here revealed. Human attributes are imposed upon the Patriarch to accentuate the human and the historical story, and so distract undue attention from the divine and the occult revelations, with their bestowal of thaumaturgical power. Actually, as subsequent events disclosed, all the strategy and diplomacy are quite unnecessary. Esau as the creative fire, the embodied Fohat, is irresistibly impelled to the fulfilment of the creative function or, as the story has it, to come into intimate relationship with Jacob and to embrace and kiss him (Chapter Thirty-three of Genesis, Verse Four).
The statement that four hundred men accompanied Esau may be read as a reference to the matter side of the cosmogonical process. The implied number four, together with the ternary—Jacob, Esau and the messengers—provides the septenate, which at this stage constitutes the creative totality. A fourth Manvanlara since that of Noah is also indicated, whether this be Chain, Round, Planet or Root Race.
8. And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.
9. And Jacob said, 0 God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee;
10. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.
11. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.
12. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
This prayer of Jacob represents an invocation individually to the Monad, racially to the tribal Deity and cosmically to the creative Source, whilst ethically it constitutes a dedication to the Most High. Such a prayer is both a renewal of the original dedication and a surrender to the original Power.
Cosinologically considered, the prayer by the Logos of a “new” Manvantara (Jacob) is an affirmation of unity with the primordial Source and of the continuity of creative power and Office. As the incoming Hierophant of a Mystery Temple invokes the aid of his predecessors and of the One Power behind all Hierophants and all Mysteries, so the racial Patriarch invokes the aid of the God of his predecessors and of his Race.
The terms of the prayer are worthy of note. The “Lord” Who gave both the verbal order to return to “thy kindred” and the promise of multiplicity of seed is none other than the primeval “Voice” (Logos) from on high. Through a Hierarchy of the Angelic Hosts the Logos issued the first creative command, liberated and directed the first creative impulse, and enunciated the first “Word”. This “Word” is expressive of the foundation forces, their frequencies and modulations, by which the Universe is brought into being under law, is shaped, and is ultimately perfected. This is the “God of my fathers”, the Lord to Whom Jacob appeals at the outset of the period of Office and creative activity. The title is accurate, since Jacob as Logos is both a manifestation and an heir of the preceding Logos (his “father”).
Verse ten makes reference to the primordial, creative pair in the form of the dual symbol of the staff and the River Jordan. These two combined form a square or angle of ninety degrees, the vertical staff (of wood) representing the masculine potency and the horizontal river (of water) the feminine, as always in the Sacred Language.
Jacob crosses Jordan twice. First, he journeys eastwards from the land of his birth and second, as bidden, he returns westward to the land of his kindred. The eastward journey was in search of a wife. The westward journey was undertaken in obedience to a Divine command and the promise of multiplicity of “seed”. On the eastward journey Jordan represents matter creatively quiescent in relation to that particular Logos (Jacob, as yet unmarried and uncreative). On the westward journey Jordan represents matter rendered creatively active (Jacob is married), as symbolised by the use of the vertical staff to “cross over Jordan”.
AN INITIATORY INTERPRETATION
Search for, discovery of and acceptance into the Sanctuary of the Mysteries, Initiation therein, and forthgoing in its service, are also implied in the great allegory. In this sense Padan-aram typifies the Greater Mysteries, fount of Earth’s primeval wisdom. Laban and his family are its Hierophant and Officers respectively. Leah, Rachel and their women represent the wisdom thence delivered to the Initiate, Buddhi united with Manas to produce the offspring and develop the herds and flocks, these being symbolical of the interior “fruit” of the power, wisdom and knowledge of the sacred Sanctuary.
Thereafter the new Initiate must go forth to carry his treasures to his “kindred”, who are his fellow human beings. As ever his symbol is the square, the swastika or the cross, all of which represent in this occult, microcosmic sense the fact that the Atmic fire of the One Initiator and of the Initiate’s own Monad (the two are one) has vertically descended into the fourfold personality (“four hundred men”) of the Initiate. It is this interior power on which he relies and to which he “prays” as he sets forth on his great mission to carry the seeds of wisdom, the “Word of God”, which he will sow in the ground, or the field to which he has been appointed.
THE PREPARATION FOR SEERSHIP
All of the above interpretations—Macrocosmic, microcosmic and Initiatory—are likewise applicable to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Similar interpretations are also applicable to the Parable of the Sower and the many Biblical references to the “seed” of the Patriarchs and their successors. If this Initiatory interpretation be both acceptable and applied, then the Pentateuch may be read as an allegorical account of the illumination of the Soul of man, and of his forthgoing as an Initiated seer and light-bringer to the world. The Sanctuaries of India, Chaldea and Egypt initiated and sent out many such inspired messengers and the cosmogonies, religious history and art of contemporary nations, especially the Jewish and the Egyptian, contain references to them. Some of the greatest were deified and are known to us as gods. In addition, the Logoi of Planets, Rounds and Chains were represented by Superhuman Beings who moved for a time amongst primitive peoples, and were enthroned as deities by them, as also by later Generations of men. This is the origin of certain of the Men-gods and God-men of remotest times. In Hinduism these are referred to as Avataras, a Sanskrit word implying a Divine incarnation, Generally the descent of a God or some exalted Being who has progressed beyond the necessity of rebirths into the body of a mortal man. The Lord Shri Krishna is regarded as an Avatar of Vishnu, for example.
Verse eleven is of interest in that, in the relationship with Esau, Jacob—although the father of the family—regards himself as being in the same danger as “the mother with I he children At their birth,it may be remembered, the twins Esau and Jacob typify positive and negative creative potencies respectively. Thus, in the present allegory of their reunion the martial attributes of the former are symbolically feared and awaited with apprehension by the latter, even whilst “she” (Jacob) is depicted as being drawn towards “him” (Esau).
13. And he lodged there that same night; and look of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;
14. Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,
15. Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.
The preponderatingly feminine gifts may also indicate that Jacob vis-a-vis Esau represents the female or negative potency. The presence of the males indicates that the masculine potency is present in each major feminine power, just as the feminine potency is also present in each major masculine power. The number “two hundred” twice repeated, referring to the she animals, and the number “twenty” also twice stated, referring to the males, allegorically again indicate the division of the primordial Unit into a primary pair as an essential preliminary to the new creative activity for which preparations are being made.
Similarly, the next numerical advance leads into triplicity and thence to the number four, as is indicated correctly in verse fifteen; for therein occult numerical sequences and powers are revealed in the guise of numbers relating to the constituents of herds and their separate classifications. If the numbering of the gifts which Jacob offers to Esau may permissibly be regarded as conveying a cosmogonical principle, then each of the numbers connotes the degree of Self-manifestation in which the Logos is to become incarnate in His Universe. The concept that the Deity of a Universe is both transcendent beyond and immanent within it may possibly here be discerned, as is also found in the Hindu Scripture, The Bhagavad Gita, where the divine Incarnation as the Lord Shri Krishna says: “Having pervaded this Universe with one fragment of Myself, I remain.” If this idea be pursued, then the numbers of the varying gifts offered to Esau by Jacob may convey both a certain generosity and a reservation. Jacob does not give the whole of his various flocks and herds, but a specific portion thereof and this, moreover, is numerically defined. It is noteworthy that this portion is symbolised by herds and herdsmen or servants only, the other members of this household and he himself having remained behind to follow later.
Herein evolutionary necessities and sequences are indicated, for the sub-human (in this case animal) forms precede the human on to the stage of the new Cosmos. Mineral and plant have already been evolved in preceding dispensations (Chains). Animals have followed, and in this fourth divine Incarnation animal evolution leads directly to the production of those human bodies in which the Monads who by a projection of a ray have made the long pilgrimage, will shortly become embodied.
16. And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.
17. And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?
18. Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my I.ord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.
19. And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.
20. And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.
21. So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.
Five species of animals were selected (vs. 14 and 15) and the servants commanded to keep each apart, drove by drove. They were the five types of domesticated quadrupeds available to the nomadic peoples of the country, and Jacob offered a measure of all of these which he possessed. Each of them is, in fact, a distinct product of Nature and each evolves into its own highest representative, which becomes the head of its type or “Ray” of animal evolution. These must be kept distinct in order that the ultimate attainment and product (a domestic animal) may conform precisely to the separate types of each species of the animal kingdom. Whilst no authoritative association of a genus of animal with a particular Ray is to be found in the available literature of occult philosophy, a tradition exists which places them as follows: First Ray, extinct; Second Ray, elephant; Third Ray, uncertain; Fourth Ray; cat; Fifth Ray, monkey; Sixth Ray, dog; and Seventh Ray, horse.
Nature is indeed extremely precise in the production of her types and classifications, being herself but the product of the major Archetype, which is the ideation of the Universe and all its products or fruits as held within the divine Mind. Jacob’s verbal instructions to the servants may be regarded as a reference to “Creation” by the sound of the “Voice” and as statements of numerical, chronological and natural law, and it is this which the Kabbalist Doctors affirm to be the chief subject of revelation throughout the allegories of the Pentateuch—hence, doubtless, the name given to it, The Torah or “Law”.
“IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD”
According to this view the Universe is emanated and fashioned by the divine action of sending forth spiritual energy of the quality of sound —the Logos Doctrine. From within the all-productive root substance (MulaPrakriti)—the sea of pre-universal space in a state, during Pralaya, of creative rest and equipoise, and so silence—a “sound” arises. This so-called sound, which is no audible noise, is the result of motion within THAT which hitherto was relatively motionless. A ripple caused in still water by movement below has its limits of influence causing a circular ring which, widening, finally reaches the full extent of its range and expansion. So, also, at the dawn of “Creation” the first motion in matter differentiates from the boundless Sea of Space a spherical area within which its frequencies obtain and rule. Since the resultant, altered matter possesses the property of soniferousness, the movement produces a phenomenon of the order or quality of sound. At this stage it is so transcendently spiritual or primordial as to bear little or no relation to any sound conceivable or cognisable by the human intellect. Nevertheless the first active Cause is correctly described as sound, and since the sound is limited to an area according to its power, and so its range, that Cause is not inappropriately described as the sound of a “Voice” or as a “Word” and the formative process as consisting of the enunciation of “words” or commands.
THE THEURGICAL POWER OF SOUND
Thus, as 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. Again, therefore, in the verses of the Chapter under consideration sound is introduced. A series of questions and answers are initiated by the Logos (Jacob) and uttered by the Elohim (the seivants) on entry into the evolutionary field (Esau’s land).
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 Zohar the successive phases of the emanation of the Universe include the primeval Will, formative thought, 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?”
If an apparent digression be here permitted, then it may be conceived and stated that all Nature is sound, all life a song, save when marred by individualistic, sadistic and primitive man. Harmony is the one law, and its true servants are ever harmonious. Wise is that man who, learning this truth, lives in obedience to the one law. Thus the Adept lives and such is the mark of Adeptship. The Adept Brotherhood itself is a harmonious blending of self-harmonised and perfected individuals. Its consciousness is serene, undisturbed and undisturbable, the stable centre of immovable poise which serves as planetary fulcrum for the forces of the Solar Logos apportioned to the planet Earth. He who would fully share in Adept activity, participate in Adept knowledge and assist Adept work, must first achieve self-harmony. The Sanskrit word “Aum” constitutes the harmonising and attuning sound and the Yogi chanting this word becomes consciously at one with the Logos.
22. And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women-servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.
23. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.
24. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
31. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
32. Therefore the children of Isreal eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.
A MACROCOSMIC INTERPRETATION
These are eleven of the most deeply occult verses of the whole Bible and they will now be considered in their possible Macrocosmic, microcosmic and Initiatory interpretations. In the Macrocosmic sense Jacob is regarded as the Logos of a new Manvantara Who has been long prepared in the fields (Universes) of His Predecessors and now, provided with all necessary powers and potentialities—actually evolved from within Himself —moves forward in time to His new Office. Padan-aram is used as a topographical symbol for the Mother Source (MulaPrakriti) of all Universes, whilst Laban personifies the masculine creative potency therein and his daughters and their handmaidens the shaktis or feminine creative powers. The Isaachian Cosmos represents the existing cycle out of which Jacob has developed, and Joseph in his turn will develop out of that of his father Jacob. Isaac was the Logos of his era, Rebekah its substance and Esau its active Fohatic energy. As Logos-to-be of the succeeding Manvantara Jacob leaves home in search of a wife, or journeys to the primordial Source. There he “labours for wages”, carries out creative and cattle breeding functions, and so “learns his craft”. Then with his wives (shaktis or powers) his flocks and his servants, meaning his developed and controlled creative powers and his potential and active faculties—particularly the conjoined power of thought and sound—he moves with his whole estate, including the Teraphim, across the ford “Jabbok” into the new field of activity. Such, Macrocosmically, is the great story thus far.
Verse Twenty-two indicates that a new phase is to begin. Verses Twenty-one and Twenty-two state that night had fallen, and verse Twenty- three that the company had approached “the brook” and that Jacob sent his womenfolk, servants, eleven sons and all “that he had” over the ford. Herein is described the assembly of creative powers and agencies at the threshold of a period and a region of renewed creative activity. The sun of the new “day” (Manvantara) had not yet risen. At the highest levels of divine thought (Mt. Gilead) the first preparations had been made, and thence the creative “Word” had been conceived and uttered (the plan and the messages to Esau). The Archetype was thereby projected into the highest levels of the Soul of the Universe-to-be. Below, night still reigned and “darkness was upon the face of the deep”.
THE FORD JABBOK
The brook to be crossed is here a symbol of both a period of time and a condition of space. It represents the conjoined time-space separating two Manvantaras within a Maha-Manvantara. It is a flowing stream and thus aptly portrays the passage of time in contradistinction to the timelessness of the pre-Manvantaric state. The condition across the brook must be entered, inhabited, and forced to submit to projected divine thought and its potencies. These are typified by the women and servants who are sent forward, and later followed by Jacob himself, personifying the action and operation of creative Will. The ford Jabbok also represents the potent yet clearly defined, concentrated projection of Logoic thought. Night still encloses the new field in a mantle of darkness, for the creative Will has not yet manifested its productive and reproductive potency.
JACOB WRESTLES WITH AN “ANGEL”
The Logos-to-be must still obtain from His Predecessor the Word of Power—His Name—before He can be installed, consecrated, and receive His official meed of power. These, symbolically, He must win as in a tourna¬ment, the suggestion of a conflict of enemies being a blind. The apparent separateness of Spirit and matter and the occurrence of conflict between them are purely allegorical, since the procedure of the emanation and fashioning of a Universe is to be conceived of as being either effortless on the part of the Logos or the product of creative dance (Shiva) or play (Bacchus). The necessity for intense effort, by which alone the highest powers are attained and expressed, is nevertheless truly conveyed by the account of the wrestling match. The processes of creation at all levels, from highest Macrocosm to physical microcosm, are symbolised in this contest. The achievement of illumination and its expression in man as genius are also implied. Jacob, the Creator-to-be, wrestles with the angel or “man” and must not be defeated. The two apparent enemies must stand on equal terms, otherwise the “name” or nature of the new creation cannot be revealed.
The stress and strain of all preceding involutionary and evolutionary cycles and attainments are here concentrated in, and represented by, one intense creative effort, the successful result of which will be entry into a new kingdom of consciousness and power, a new Office and a new and patriarchal state of existence or “name” (Israel). The everlasting “battle” between Spirit and matter is also revealed in allegory in these pregnant verses. The eventual specialisation and moulding or “naming” of matter by Spirit is also portrayed.
Every creator, whether Logos or human genius, and its vehicle of expression for a time pays a price for the exercise of the power to create. Not only must resistant matter itself, as also all vehicles and forms, be mould¬ed by effort, but in addition a limitation of freedom of action must be accepted and submitted to. The thigh out of joint symbolises this penalty, this temporary loss both of procreative power and of freedom, which must be suffered by every active fashioner of forms. In the process of Self¬manifestation the Logos of a Universe must have sacrificed untainted spirituality, undivided wholeness and total unity with boundless cosmic life. Symbolically His thigh, or region of creative expression, is “out of joint”, becomes the source of limitation and weakness.
All such penalties and limitations described in World Scriptures and Mythologies have a similar significance. Instances of these are: Achilles mortally wounded in the heel, Hercules poisoned by the shirt of Nessus, Balder wounded by an arrow made of mistletoe, Siegfried vulnerable because of a leaf, both Bacchus and Osiris slain, their bodies dismembered and the pieces later reassembled, and the “divine” Pelican with its selftorn and bleeding breast. These may be regarded as allegories descriptive of the limitations of primordial freedom, wholeness and integrity voluntarily assumed by all creative agents of whatever degree.
THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF A NAME
The name, whether of Logos, Universe, plane of Nature, principle of man or of man himself, signifies in the Sacred Language both distinguishing characteristics and the quality of individuality and power. To bestow a name is to single out that which is named from its surroundings. Since sound is involved in the concept of a name and the process of naming, a Scriptural reference to creation by sound is clearly intended. In the Biblical narratives the names of the patriarchal representatives of cosmic, creative Powers are either changed altogether, as in Jacob’s case, or modified by the addition of syllables, as in the case of Abraham. Jacob, on the threshold of Manvantara, is given the distinctive set of frequencies which represent the Archetype, plan, power and future products of the new cycle. This name, however, is only as a syllable in the full name of the Maha-Manvantara, which latter represents the total power and products, actual and potential, of the larger Cosmos.
The emanation of the minor from the Major or, to reverse the statement, the condensation of the universal into the particular, is never achieved without effort, and this also is expressed in the wrestling conflict between Jacob and the unnamed “man”. To the particular the universal is formless, and so many of the “men” met in the evolutionary field by Patriarchs and others are frequently unnamed. Consciousness, however, desires to bring the universal increasingly within its grasp, and this is revealed allegorically when heroes and heroines are made to demand the names of the sources of power, protection or deliverance. These names cannot be given, however, without irretrievable loss, and so are often withheld.
Descent from the universal to the particular is a constriction and a distortion for that which, in its essential nature, is ever free and unconfinable. Even when the feat is temporarily performed, nevertheless the universality of the power and the full significance of the implicit idea are lost. In an allegory from the Teutonic Mysteries, for example, Lohengrin departs when under duress he reveals his name. The process of creation is dependent upon the descent of power from a higher dimension. The Logos brings about that descent and so, appropriately, Jacob “prevailed” over the “man” and, on demand, received his blessing. A change of name followed, signifying attainment of a new level of consciousness and official entry upon relevant activities.
THE DIVINE SURRENDER OF FREEDOM
Renunciation, or that which at first is felt to be renunciation and a limitation, is always demanded as the price of advancement. Agreeable to the symbolical method of revelation and portrayal, Jacob is injured in the thigh. Spiritual power at any level below that of its origin demands for its manifestation both particularisation of the power and the limitation of the freedom and faculty of the intelligent agent. Such are some possible interpretations of the story of the association of Jacob with the unnamed “man”.
THE DESCENT OF THE HUMAN MONAD
The shrinking of Jacob’s thigh, in its microcosmic interpretation, represents the'final renunciation of—evolution beyond—physical procrea¬tive activity. In this sense the “man” is the Monad, Jacob is the Ego and the “thigh” is the physical procreative power and experience. When the evolutionary phase is entered at which Monad and Ego are in conscious relationship (together) and the Ego is expressing Monadic attributes (has prevailed), then procreative activity is sublimated. Symbolically the organ of creation “shrinks”. Jacob is thus seen as the high Initiate who has attained Atmic Consciousness, whose physical body has lost all power to limit him, and whose creative activity is henceforth entirely mental and spiritual.
The microcosmic significance of Chapter Thirty-two of Genesis is also indicated in the twinship and differing characteristics of Jacob and Esau. Both are products and expressions of the Monad, Isaac. Both are personifications of creative power, since both are Patriarchs. Esau represents, microcosmically, the fiery, passionate and more physical expression of Fohat, whilst Jacob personifies the more subjective, intellectual and spiritual, creativeness. Esau is the personality, Jacob the Ego and Isaac, their father, is the Monad.
At the opening of a new descent into physical life the Ego projects its powers, human and animal, from the level of creative thought into the physical world (the land of Canaan). To reach that level the realm of emotion must be entered and crossed (the brook and the ford Jabbok). The Monadic, creative power personified by the “man” must be focused by thought-will into the limitations of a single, material expression. Allegorically, Jacob wrestles with a “man”, prevails, but suffers injury to his thigh or organ of creative faculty. All happens within and to a single individual, personified by Jacob, whose universality as an Ego must be limited but not destroyed by the process of incarnation in the flesh and subservience to the laws of creation and procreation.
HUMAN PROGRESSION THROUGH SUCCESSIVE LIVES
In this approach the incidents in the narrative become applicable to each human individual, in this case personified by Jacob, whose story as it has come down to us reveals phases in the evolution and experience of man. In a further interpretation Chapter Thirty-two of Genesis describes the process of descent into a new physical birth and so becoming a new individual, or receiving a new name. In this process knowledge and memory of the creative Source are obscured, forgotten, if not wholly lost. Symbolically, despite the request the “man” does not reveal his name. On the contrary, he himself bestows a different name upon Jacob, one implying disciplined command or kingship by the Ego over the personality.
Reincarnation, or birth in another family, may also be inferred, since each successive rebirth provides an extension of the Egoic domain by the attainment of a new personality (and so name) through which added powers and faculties will be developed. Eventually the twain—Inner Self and outer man—become mutually inter-related to form one consciousness. Deeply though this knowledge of Egoic unfoldment through successive lives was hidden from the profane, veiled for all outside of the ancient Sanctuaries, it was thoroughly well known within them. The later reunion of Esau and Jacob, who then embrace and kiss, as also the succession of Patriarchs, may also be regarded as revelations of the sequence of earthly lives. These culminate in perfection or the mystical birth of the Messiah, as later promised, and His Ascension on the attainment of Christhood. Indeed, many Books of the Bible may be read as allegorical portrayals of the origin, nature and evolution of the human Soul to “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
Such, indeed, is a microcosmic key to the interpretation of those parts of the Bible which are Sanctuary-inspired. Admittedly all is not thus spiritually and occultly meaningful. Some parts of the Bible are simple history, others depict tribal superstition and egoism, whilst allowance must be made for outright error. Nevertheless much also is indeed truly inspired.
JACOB TREADS “THE WAY OF HOLINESS”
In many significant passages of the Bible the life of the Sanctuary itself is mirrored. The pathway to supreme illumination, the conferring of Initiations after tests and ordeals, the reception of spiritual wisdom by Candidates after profound Soul-stirring, as well as the final triumphs of Initiates, are all indicated beneath the veil of allegory and symbol. For example, Jacob at a certain stage in his history becomes the Initiate triumphant, one who “crosses the stream” (of the spiritual life) and reaches the further shore of Adeptship. The ford over the River Jabbok stands for the Sanctuary, by the aid of which the “stream” is crossed and a new and far wider sphere of creative activity is entered upon.
In such an interpretation the transference of power from a retiring Hierophant of a Temple of the Mysteries to his successor, and also of faculties developed by the Higher Self during preceding incarnations, is implied. Microc.osmically, Jacob’s original name signifies Monadic consciousness and power (Atma), whilst the change to Israel indicates the influence of the Higher Mind or Egoic individuality (Manas). From the union of these two (Atma and Manas) Buddhic consciousness will be born to that individuality. Thereafter instinct and emotion give place to self-inspired mentality. All of these progressions are indicated in the change of name from Jacob to Israel.
In the wider sense the formative processes of Nature are allegorically described, Spirit being the positive and matter the negative agencies. Continually throughout Manvantara these two interact, their activity and unfoldment in the evolutionary field being generative in character and at the same time obedient to electrical laws of polarity and interchange. The Monad in man, consisting of focused creative fire and light, is positive, whilst the Manas or spiritual Intelligence is negative. The generative interaction of these two within man is productive of the “birth” of Buddhi or Christ Consciousness.
In the world’s allegories the numerous accounts of physical creative intercourse and its products, legitimate when within marriage and illegitimate when without, may be read as descriptive of natural Monadic, Egoic and physical laws of reproduction. This applies to both states of human consciousness and the vehicles through which they are expressed. The Logos is as a Patriarch at an exceedingly lofty level, and the sun is the physical agent of His spiritual creative power. Universes, Monads, Egos, physical bodies, and levels and attributes of human power and consciousness, are all personified in the great Biblical narrative by the Patriarchs, their wives, sons, daughters, tribes, cattle and possessions.
THE RECONCILIATION OF JACOB AND ESAU
Gen. 33: The kindness of Jacob and Esau at their meeting. Jacob cometh to Succoth. He buyeth a field, and buildeth an altar.
Although this Chapter may well be read as an account of the reunion of the two brothers, Jacob and Esau, and no under-meanings be sought, nevertheless details are given and phrases used which are susceptible of interpretation as allegories of Cosmogenesis and human reincarnation. The separations and reunions of groups, relatives and male and female characters, for example, are suggestive of periods of quiescence and activity, as also of creative interactions and their fruits, in both the Macrocosmic and microcosmic senses. A general commentary in these terms is therefore offered, but with no intention of introducing complicated interpretations into what may be merely a simple narration of facts.
1. And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.
2. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.
3. And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
4. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept.
In this Thirty-third Chapter of Genesis the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau is described. The universal, electric, positive creative power, cease¬lessly active throughout the Universe (Esau), now becomes an accepted “brother ally and friend of the negative creative potency (Jacob). In this, the pre-Canaan epoch, no further physical procreation occurs. In these verses people are brought together in two sets of five—Esau and his four hundred men, or four companies each of one hundred, and Jacob with his four women. Jacob advances and bows seven times to Esau, who comes to meet him. Thereafter they embrace, kiss and weep. Later Esau accepts the cattle of Jacob as a present and precedes him to Canaan. One cycle of manifestation is closing (that of Jacob) and a new one is about to open (that of Joseph). At this pre-creative stage the Logos-to-be is still in intimate association with root substance, and so Joseph is here still associated with his mother Rachel (substance).
The two leaders who will initiate the succeeding epoch represent the positive (Esau) and the negative (Jacob) creative potencies. Their embrace refers to mutual unification, their kiss to interior creative activity, and their tears to the Fohatic life fluid, the spiritual, seed-carrying or Monad-bearing one life. The Jacob cycle thus draws to a close. He withdraws, but does not die until later. The focus of interest is now changed to the children, more especially Dinah at first, and then to Joseph as Logos of the new cycle.
5. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children/ and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.
6. Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.
7. And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.
At the opening of a new epoch of divine manifestation (Manvantara) the juxta-position of the universal positive and negative occurs. This is here allegorically described with the implication that preceding eras, whether Planetary Schemes, Chains, Rounds, Races or individual incarnations, have heretofore been fruitful. The bowing of the personifications of the feminine to the masculine potency is indicative of polarity and of the more receptive contribution which the former makes in the creative process. The active part played by the positive is indicated by the phrase: “Esau ran to meet him.”
THE SYMBOL OF RECONCILIATION
Just as disputes, accusations of dishonesty, enmity and quarrels between hitherto united nations, families and individuals have possible occult significance, so also reconciliations may be read as ultimate re-harmoni-sations of the erstwhile antagonists. Such incidents are numerous in tht Bible and refer to the ultimate overcoming by Spirit of the inertia and resistance of matter, and to the voluntary surrender of the personality of an evolved human being to the spiritualising influence of the Higher Self.
8. And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.
9. And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.
10. And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.
11. Take, 1 pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.
12. And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.
13. And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
14. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant; and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Stir.
15. And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord.
16. So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.
17. And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
18. And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-aram; and pitched his tent before the city.
19. And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.
20. And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-lsrael.
The very personal and the tribal details included in the narrative of the reconciliation between Jacob and Esau may be taken at their face value as being descriptive of not unnatural procedures under the circumstances. Nevertheless the statement by Jacob concerning his brother Esau—that he had seen his face “as though I had seen the face of God”—suggests something more than a fraternal reunion. If one is to accept the Kabbalistic view of the Pentateuch, that it is in reality a vehicle for occult revelation under the veil of allegory and symbol, then references to creative processes of both the Cosmic and the human order may possibly be discerned. Whilst in general the method of the ancient writers has been to use masculine and feminine personifications, men and women, as representing Spirit and matter, in the story of Jacob and Esau the two brothers respectively are thus chosen. Their reunion, the recognition by Jacob that God is with Esau, the extremely generous gifts offered and their onward travel together, all describe allegorically the intimate interfusion of the two opposite polarities in preparation for the later opening of the new cycle—that of Joseph—which is to follow.
The ancient writers, it must be assumed, were deeply preoccupicd with and versed in the profound mystery of generation, cosmic and microcosmic. As Initiates of the Mystery Schools of Chaldea—in their turn essential parts of the Ancient Mysteries by which occult learning and spiritual modes of living were communicated to man and kept alive in ancient days—secrecy had been enjoined upon them, so that revelations of their learning and their occult lore had to be most heavily veiled. This, however, is not the only reason for the intrusion into Hebrew history of revelations which also concerned laws and processes of a divine order; for the authors were men of vision, Initiates in whom the inner sight had been awakened. In consequence, they actually saw on occasion the manifestation of the divine in Nature and of the Spirit of man in certain people. Earth, for them, was indeed alight with heaven and this vision, together with their secretly avowed objective of teaching mankind, may be regarded as an added factor influencing them to write the history of their people in metaphorical form, rather than as a record of natural events alone.
With a request to the reader for pardon on account of repetitions, the above ideas are here offered as commentaries upon the Thirty-third Chapter of the Book of Genesis.
If readers should, not unnaturally, question the view that occult revelations are being made by means of allegorised history, and should they consider that the indications are too few to justify this approach, then it must not be forgotten that the Torah has undergone many revisions and elisions, some of them it has been stated for theological and even personal motives, and some out of sheer ignorance.
Astrologically and esoterically Joseph represents the next Zodiacal Sign to become dominant as the basic qualities and attributes of the new Manvantara, of which Joseph is to be the forthgoing and returning life and consciousness, or Logos.
Microcosmically, the human Soul has entered fully upon the path of hastened evolution, has “crossed the stream” (Jabbok), and in consequence its creative powers are exercised solely at the spiritual level. The story of the meeting and actions of the two brothers, who are twins, and of the women and children is full of interest from this interior, occult point of view. Esau represents the Monadic Atma, the positive creative power and light which “runs to meet” Jacob, his women and his children. Jacob is the triple reincarnating Solf or Ego and his wives typify the Causal Body, whilst the children personify the fruits, or capacities and powers, developed in preceding incarnations.
Embraces, kisses and tears all symbolise the creative interplay between Monad and Ego, the latter being receptive in relation to the former but positive in relation to successive physical personalities. Thus viewed, the preparations or creative activities which occur within the Higher Self of man at the opening of a new physical incarnation are allegorically described in these opening verses of Chapter Thirty-three of Genesis.
PROCREATIVE UNIONS, LEGITIMATE AND ILLICIT, AS ALLEGORIES OF THE EMANATION OF
Gen. 34: Dinah defiled. The Shechemites are circumcised. The sons of Jacob taking advantage thereof slay them, and spoil their city. Jacob reproveth Simeon and Levi.
1. And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
2. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her
3. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly .unto the damsel.
4. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
This Chapter deals with the defilement of Dinah, the quarrel between the sons of Jacob and the Shechemites, the slaughter of all the males by Simeon and Levi, the despoiling of the city, and Jacob’s reproof of his two sons for their actions. Whilst these incidents may have a purely historical basis and therefore do not call for interpretation, they are nevertheless so much out of character as to suggest an allegorical intent in the minds of the authors. Jacob, the father of Simeon and Levi, has been portrayed as an upright, kindly and God-guided man. The mothers of the two murderers were members of Laban’s household, and he is given a similar character. The story of the outburst of brutality and the exaction of so terrible a penalty upon a whole people for the crime of one of its members is, in consequence, difficult to accept in a purely historical sense. In such cases it is justifiable, indeed advisable, at least to examine the narrative in search of possible under-meanings.
Further support for such an approach is provided by the strange fact that the masculine and feminine participants in a creative act, after its fulfilment are made completely to disappear. Dinah plays no further part in the story of Israel whilst the Shechemites are obliterated. This occurs, moreover, at the beginning of a narrative of the opening of a new Biblical cycle—that of Joseph—suggesting that Dinah and Shechem may thus be regarded as personifications of the primordial pair from whom the Logos- to-be is born. That pair, having performed their office in Cosmogenesis, having set in motion the cyclic processes, no longer participate in the drama.
Dinah was the only daughter or feminine product of Jacob, now named Israel. Eleven sons and one daughter completed his progeny before he entered into the land of Canaan, where he died. The Zodiacal powers arid attributes in the Cosmos and the corresponding temperaments and qualities of man are indicated by these twelve children. Amongst these Dinah represents the sign Virgo, and also personifies both pre-cosmic matter and pre-pubertal and pre-initiate man.
Israel and his children represent, therefore, a Logos Who has completed one cycle of creative and evolutionary activity, during which the qualities and attributes of each of twelve Signs of the Zodiac were accentuated and the relevant divine powers (children) were further developed. This fruitage must, in its turn, pass onwards into, the succeeding Manvantara, and the journey from Padan-aram is allegorically descriptive of that procedure. In consequence the virgin feminine principle, represented by Dinah, must lose its virginity (Dinah is defiled). The creative process is later re-initiated by and in the offspring.
Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, illicitly procures Dinah and thereafter both of them disappear from the cosmogonical allegory. Israel, his wives and their handmaidens, his sons of the Padan-aram phase and one daughter, his herds, servants and possessions, all represent one individuality, whether interpreted Macrocosmically or microcosmically. The Logos of any Universe and the Monad-Ego of every man are both accurately personified by the Patriarch and his estate. Macrocosmically, Dinah is the virginal substance and state from which the succession will arise. Shechem is the creative agency, the kingly power, by which the virgin is made fruitful. The absence of mention of either her motherhood or her offspring indicates the intention of the authors of the Mosaic books to portray Dinah as the feminine principle essential to the succession of Manvantaras of whatever degree, and Shechem as the principle of positive generation. These, having played their parts, disappear in the sense that the centre of the stage is occupied by the chief actor in the next phase of the creative drama.
THE HIDDEN WISDOM IN THE HOLY BIBLE
5. And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.
6. And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
7. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done.
8. And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter; I pray you give her him to wife.
9. And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
10. And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.
11. And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give.
12. Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife;
13. And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, became he had defiled Dinah their sister.
14. And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were o reproach unto us:
15. But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;
16. Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take, your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
17. But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.
18. And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son.
19. And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.
20. And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
21. These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
22. Only herein will ike men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.
23. Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of their's be our's? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
24. And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
25. And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
26. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out.
27. The sons of Jacob come upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
28. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in ihe field.
29. And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.
30. And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Te have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
31. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
The conduct of Simeon and Levi towards the Shechemites is so repre¬hensible as to be both repulsive and difficult of acceptance in its literal form. Admittedly the Israelites were at this time in their history still but a small and primitive tribe, and the enactment of such a revenge because of the defilement of a sister is not entirely beyond belief. Nevertheless, the Pentateuch is presented exoterically as an account of the creation of a Universe and its inhabitants, and of the rise of the Israelite nation as a God-chosen people destined to bring about on Earth a reign of obedience to the law of God (Torah) which was to culminate in a Messianic age. To sully the pages of its history with accounts of such ungodly and inhuman conduct is surely a strange way to narrate the saga of a nation. Since great Hebrew scholars from before the pre-Christian era have affirmed that the Torah is but an allegorical veil concealing profound truths, then the student seeking those truths finds justification for applying to the story the classical rules of interpretation. Such being the theme of this work, the fruits of that endeavour are here—as elsewhere—offered to the reader.
The apparent duplicity and ruthless cruelty gf Israel’s sons, and especi¬ally of Simeon and Levi, and their plundering of the Hivite family of all their women, cattle and possessions, may thus be read as allegorically portraying the withdrawal of the primordial creative Monad from active participation in Mavantara, and also the absorption of the products of its activity and of its creative attributes into the new field. The original Agent, the creative Initiator of Manvantara (Logos), having impregnated virgin Space and imparted the involutionary and evolutionary impulses, plays no further part in the creative process. Apart from His transmitted power and attributes, the first Logos is thereafter non-existent or symbolically, dies.
This strange, natural fact or law is represented in Nature by certain of her varied forms and processes. The impregnating male bet: dies after consummation of the hymeneal function. Fertilising spermatozoa die and disappear after the completion of their task. The Greeks revealed this truth by means of allegories describing the loss of the creative power, and even of the generative organs, after fulfilment of the process of impregnation. Thus Kronos mutilates Uranus, implying that manifestation in time temporarily robs the Eternal of its eternity. This is part of the hidden meaning of all allegorical emasculations. In the Hebrew epic Shechem and all his tribe are removed from the face of the Earth.
The feminine principle (original Space) also disappears as such, being replaced by or becoming the active, productive mother substance (Maha- tattva) from which the seven principles and subtle elements (tattvas) are later evolved by the action of divine Thought, universal Intelligence (Mahat) MulaPrakriti at virgin “loses its virginity”, and in that sense disappears. So also in man. The Monad, an imperishable Spark, having projected its Ray into the evolutionary field, takes no further deliberative part in the development of that Ray in the immediately succeeding cycles. Ultimately after individualisation and when the Ego has attained to a certain stature, the Monad projects an additional power into the Ego and a new creative drama is enacted, a new being—an Adept—is conceived and born. This secondary creative act is represented in the inspired allegories of the lives of Saviours and heroes by Annunciations, immaculate conceptions and births.
The illegality of the union of Shechem and Dinah, in that it occurred outside of marriage, also portrays the principle that wherever positive and negative come into juxtaposition, interaction occurs; for these two represent the eternal poles and the incident of defilement, which may have an historical foundation, is made to reveal an esoteric truth. In addition the principle of causation, acting as retribution or Nemesis, is also indicated in the story. Shechem sinned according to convention, so he and his tribe are destroyed in their positive, creative capacity—in verse Twenty-five all the males are slain.
Dinah was the virginal principle inherent in Rachel, despite the latter’s maternal office, and so was properly placed amongst her offspring, each of which is descriptive of the natuxe and the qualities (Zodiacal) inherent in their mother. Rachel, Dinah, Rebekah and Leah are one in reality, all of them personifying the feminine principle of Deity, the negative current of the triple creative Agency and Power. Rachel, as the universal maternal principle, gives birth to the two post-Israel Logoi—Joseph conceived in Padan-aram and Benjamin in Canaan.
A MYSTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF CIRCUMCISION
The craft employed to ensnare the Shechemites may perhaps be regarded as a blind concealing an under-meaning. The rite of circumcision is, however, susceptible of interpretation as referring to the sublimation of the creative energy, after which it is no longer used for physical procreation. Although the rite was not peculiar to the Hebrew people, it became interpreted as a special sign of their covenant with Jehovah. Various views are held concerning the original purpose of circumcision such as, for example: that it was intended as an offering of part of the body as a sacrifice to the Deity; that it evidenced consecration of the organs of reproduction and of the procreative function; that it was practised in the hope that it might secure a blessing from the Goddess of Fertility; that it was begun and practised as a mere physical convenience—hygienic purposes, for example. Eventually it became the symbol of the choice of the Hebrew peoples by the Deity. It was also regarded as the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, the sixth verse of the Thirtieth Chapter of Deuteronomy referring to “circumcision of the heart”—an attitude of mind which enabled the people of Israel to love God with all their hearts. St. Paul discarded the outward rite and advanced the view that he who had interior spiritual experience did not need the outward sign.
The statement that all the male Shechemites were slain may also be regarded as descriptive of a state of consciousness, for death in the Sacred Language always refers to cessation of awareness at the level at which it supposedly occurs and the attainment of consciousness at a certain higher level. Decapitation, for example, as in the case of Goliath and John the Baptist, is susceptible of interpretation as the restriction of the power of the higher analytical and critical tendencies of the formal mind which limit facility for intuitive perception, and in consequence make possible a greater ability to be aware at the level of the abstract and intuitive intelligence.
Whilst a possible historical reading is not discounted, mystically no individuals necessarily passed through these extraordinary experiences related in the Old Testament. Each participant is made to personify a power and a principle in Nature, and the whole story of their actions to portray universal laws and processes. The post-circumcision soreness of the Shechemites, which exoterically produced their downfall, symbolises the temporary pain inseparable from the complete renunciation of physical sex life. When complete this renunciation leads to the exclusively spiritual and intellectual exercise of the creative power, allegorically described as the establishment of a covenant with God. This is symbolised as physical death, for in that sense also the Shechemites “die” or no longer exercise a particular physical function.
JACOB OBEYS THE COMMAND OF GOD
Gen. 35: God sendeth Jacob to Beth-el: he purgeth his house of idols, and buildeth an altar; God blesseth him there. Rachel beareth Benjamin, and dies. The sons of Jacob. Isaac’s death.
1. And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there; and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
The journey from Padan-aram is further described in this Chapter. Whilst the narration of purely physical and objective events may be so read, and even accepted as true, direct personal intervention in the life of an individual or a family by the Supreme Deity of the Universe can less easily be so regarded. Fear of vengeance may well have hastened the travellers on their way, but the words of God to Jacob at once draw attention to a possible occult interpretation of the narrative and may even provide a key to its deeper significance. If that view be accepted and applied, then the story of this journey may be read as allegorically portraying the transference of His potentialities and powers by the Logos of one period of divine manifestation to the Logos or Lord of the immediately succeeding dispensation. If such be the intention of the authors of the Pentateuch, as is suggested by erudite commentators—especially the learned Kabbalists earlier quoted—then Hebrew Patriarchs are made to personify the ensouling power, life and Intelligence (Logos) of a Universe within the larger divine manifestation, which is the Cosmos as a whole. Thus read, the inclusion of direct intervention by the Logos of this Solar System in a supposed history of a primitive Semitic tribe would, as suggested above, be understandable.
As is so often found in the Bible, cyclic recurrence is again indicated. Instructions are given by God that key points and places of earlier cycles are to be revisited and actions previously performed at those places are to be repeated, as in fact they were. In particular, a surrender and the setting up of an altar and pillar are described and verbal instructions given and obeyed. Progression along a spiral path is apparently being described; for such progression inevitably brings the traveller to positions in his journey which are directly over corresponding positions on preceding rounds. At each of these points certain events will tend to recur, this fact accounting for the similarities, both general and particular, which are to be found in so many Biblical allegories of forthgoing and return.
The place called Beth-el is thus made to represent a key phase upon the spirally ascending path followed by the evolving life (the Patriarchs and other leaders) as described in allegory in the Old Testament. Beth-el, formerly Luz, was so named by Jacob, who built an altar there. The Bible relates also that Bsth-el was occupied by “the house of Joseph” and by “the sons of the prophets.” It is described as “the king’s (Jeroboam’s) chapel” and “the king’s court”, Jeroboam having set up a calf of gold to be worshipped there. This idolatry was destroyed by Josiah. Exoterically Beth-el means “the house of God” and esoterically, when applied to the Macrocosm, it refers to the plane and state of consciousness of the creative Eiohim, the gods, or in their synthesis and summation the one God. Beth-el therefore refers to entry upon a “new”, yet repetitive, creative cycle.
The opening verse provides the key to this whole Chapter of Genesis, for in it Jacob is ordered to return to a starting point. How different is his condition on the second occasion from that of the first! At the opening of one of his creative cycles—-for this is the nature of the revelation—he was alone and without possessions apart from his father’s blessing, which had been obtained by a subterfuge. At the close of the cycle his household is large and his possessions, the fruits of his labours, are great. All was within him potentially when he journeyed forth. All is made manifest objectively, and perfectly controlled, now that he returns. He, Jacob, the Logos of a cycle, has completed one round of his spiral ascent. A new round is to be entered upon, new heights essayed, new greatness achieved, a new “name” assumed and a new manifestation begun. The close of each round of the spiral evolutionary journey brings the ascending life back to its highest spiritual condition. Therefore, in a Macrocosmic interpretation, it is to Beth-el—the spiritual state—that Jacob is bidden to return.
2. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments;
3. And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.
4. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
THE LAW OF SACRIFICE OBEYED BY UNIVERSE AND MAN
The command to put away strange gods, to be clean and to change garments, is descriptive of the shedding of material accretions by life in the process of its ascent. Positive creative agencies and negative responses may also be implied; for gods are potencies and their power is of the order of sound, which is heard by the ear. Adornments of the ears—earrings—not unfittingly indicate the material products of creative sound. Together “the strange gods” and the “earrings” thus refer to the preceding creative process, cycle and fruitage, now in the past and so in this sense outgrown, renounced. They must be given back to life or Nature before the new cycle can open. The suggestion of compulsion is, however, inapplicable in the Macrocosmic sense; for the whole process of gradual ascent beyond existing material limitations is inevitable and natural.
Microcosmically effort, sacrifice and renunciation are demanded of those men who, treading the Way of Holiness, would penetrate to higher levels of awareness in advance of the Race. As each plane of consciousness is entered, each cycle and sub-cycle left behind, a certain renunciation of the past is demanded. The standards of the new stage are so much higher than those of the old that the inner attitude represented by the outer habiliments must be changed accordingly. These standards, adornments and material encasements of the past are symbolised in the fourth verse by “strange gods” and “earrings”, A fundamental law is thus enunciated in the opening verses of this Chapter of Genesis. It is the law of sacrifice, surrender, self-denudation, which must be “obeyed”, or rather fulfilled, at every advance by those who stand on the threshold of a new and highei level of consciousness and phase of evolution.
The proffered sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, the poverty of Christ’s Nativity, His metaphor of the corn of wheat which must die, His instruction to the rich young ruler and His voluntary surrender, crucifixion and death, all exemplify this law which individuals, nations and Cosmoi must obey. The power behind the evolving life is irresistible. If the surrender be not voluntary, it is enforced. “Strange gods” and “earrings” may be either put away or taken away, hence the idolatry of Jeroboam at Beth-el was stamped out by Josiah. Wise is the man who, like the household of Jacob, voluntarily lays aside the attributes appropriate to the past and in conse¬quence peacefully and naturally assumes those of the immediate future. The patting on of clean raiment and of new robes is another symbol of obedience to this law of life.
Burial of the gods and the earrings under an oak tree may thus be regarded as describing allegorically the return of cast-off principles or vestures of both Cosmos and man to their precreative condition within the bosom of Nature, the earth (Prakriti). The reabsorption of all forms and vehicles within the ever virgin, yet ever productive, substance of Space is thus indicated. The fact that the place of burial bore the same name as the male fructifying agent which supposedly violated Dinah is noteworthy. Thus the essential elements of both creation and procreation are denoted, namely the male agent (Shechem), the female agent (Dinah), the creative power and life-force (the oak tree), and the fruitage of the past upon which the future is founded, In addition, the laws of cyclic forthgoing and return to the same Source, of surrender and reabsorption, are here revealed.
5. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
6. So Jacob came to LUZ, which is m the land of Canaan, that is, Beth-el, he, and all the people that were with him.
7. And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
The final arc of the circle of forthgoing and return is traversed. The last sub-cycle is completed and the primogenitors of the Jewish Race under their new leader Jacob—personifying a Logos (the Eiohim and Their abundant powers) and the products of a closing cycle—arrive at the point of the completion of one era of manifestation (Manvantara) and the opening of its successor. Insulation of a sphere of influence (Ring-pass-not) is suggested by the absence of any pursuit by the citizens of surrounding cities, the family of Jacob being thereby granted the desired seclusion. The terror of God which was said to be upon them may refer to dissimilarity of vibrational frequency from other involutionary and evolutionary fields and cycles which prevents mutual infringement.
Luz means light and Beth-el the house of God. Thus Jacob and his people arrive at “the light of the house of God”. In cosmogony light is frequently referred to as the first manifestation of the newly active Logos, the first objective product of resumed creative activity. Again, therefore, the opening of a new cycle and the emergence of new power, life and consciousness in the form of light are indicated. The building of an altar at that place, which thereafter is specifically named, describes in allegory the establishment of divine power and rule endowed with, or specially characterised by, the particular aspects, attributes and potentialities which will be the mark or “name” (tattva) of the cycle about to begin.
The so-called “flight” from Esau, the twin brother who was red and hairy, portrays the withdrawal—especially the feminine from the masculine— of the creative pair from each other after fructification is complete. The consequent and subsequent production of a new Universe from the feminine or relatively negative fructified field, ovum or cell then follows. The initial Esau-Jacob creative impulse is carried on and conveyed from Jacob to the females of his household. They, in their turn, continue the process through the children and grandchildren, all of whom allegorically portray profound cosmogonical truths.
Reunited, Esau and Jacob embraced and wept. Again they parted, Esau to go to Mount Seir and Jacob to journey on to his new field of productivity. It should be remembered, however, that all cosmogonical processes are subjective in the beginning and occur within the triune creative Agency under eternal law. Expositions, allegories and personifications are false if and when they indicate separate forces external to each other. All happens within the One, which only seemingly becomes the many after initial self-fructification and the symbolic enunciation of the “Word”, followed by self-manifestation as light. It should ever be remembered that One is All and All is One, this being the key to the comprehension of spiritual truths. The student should therefore not be misled by the supposed journeyings of the principal characters in allegorical accounts of Cosmo Genesis. In the Sacred Language a journey implies only an interior change and nearly always the “birth”, development and perfecting of “new” powers. As all happens to one individual, whether the Logos of a Universe or the Monad, Ego or personality of a man, so all happens in the same place, which is the involutionary and evolutionary field, and even this is less a location than a state of being.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHANGE IN JACOB’S NAME
8. But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Beth-el under an oak: and the name of it was called Allen- bachuth.
9. And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he cam out of Padan- aram, and blessed hint.
10. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and ht called his name Israel.
11. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
12. And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.
13. And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.
A MACROCOSMIC INTERPRETATION
Cosmic symbolism is here reintroduced. Whilst Rebekah represented the root substance of the Isaachian Universe, Deborah, her nurse, personifies its outermost and densest manifestation. The two together may be taken to typify the noumenon and the phenomenon of the preceding era. The cycle of its successor, that of Jacob, having been initiated, any limiting impress of the preceding Manvantara is now outgrown. Metaphorically Deborah, as the physical nature of the Isaac-Rebekah epoch, dies. The substance of that epoch goes back to the primordial state, to be used anew. Deborah is thus placed in the earth under an oak tree, the symbolism being the same as that applying to the buried earrings and gods.
Allon-bachuth (oak of weeping) might be interpreted as mourning for the death of the old, even though it also implies the birth of the new. The name constitutes a password from one state to the next, a secret communion between Hierophant and successor, the justifying and proving “Word The past outgrown, the present established and the future prepared for, the creative impulse is again released. God appears unto Jacob, blesses (empowers) him and “speaks” to him, once more telling him to change his name to Israel. This latter procedure has already been partially interpreted, as has the promise of extreme fertility. Another group of frequencies of oscillation is enunciated—or named—and the inevitable fruits of it are anticipated.
In terms of creative potencies, Jacob has hitherto been presented as receptive, passive, even feminine. In this guise he participates in the production of a Universe with his twin brother Esau who, being red and hairy, clearly personifies the active, positive, masculine potency. When, however, Jacob is himself to emerge as a succeeding Creator and Patriarch, he is ordered to change his name, and so also his entire character, from negative as before to positive from now on. A new triplicity arises from the One into which the preceding cycle had been merged. Israel becomes the First Aspect (Purusha), Rachel the Third (Prakriti) and their child, Benjamin, the Second (the Christos). Thus the new dispensation is initiated, the close of its predecessor having been described by means of historical allegory.
14. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, men a pillar of stone: and he poured c. drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.
15. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Betkel.
The symbol of the pillar is again—as so often—used to denote the active potency. In order to indicate the opening of that phase at which the creative energy enters the new field, the ceremony of setting up a pillar of stone, anointing and consecrating it and naming its location “Beth-el”, is now introduced into the Biblical narrative. Successive creative epochs within the period of major cosmic manifestation (Maha-Manvantara) are here indicated. Preceding pre-pillar periods are concerned with the reception of the Archetype and the production and selection of spiritual powers and material attributes.
Transferred potencies are generally described in allegory by naming a location and renaming a Logos-to-be. Thereupon the “new” field is approached, this being, of course, the “old” or preceding field or area within which manifestation is to occur. The divine impulse is then received and transmitted, as is allegorically portrayed by speech with the Lord God or the primal “Word The promise is made of extreme productivity and the command is given to go forth into the new field, or country, and exercise patriarchal functions. Thereupon the tribe and their cattle— symbols of “seeds” and potencies to be developed in the new epoch—are made to journey onwards to the new home, the path of forthgoing being thus described. All of these episodes are of profound cosmogonical significance. Each place-name, altar, person and event typifies both a power and a principle involved in the Macrocosmic creative proccss. All repetitions of these patriarchal actions constitute minor books of genesis, or allegories of processes of universal generation.
ISRAEL AS THE SPIRITUAL SELF OF MAN
Since man is a microcosm, persons, actions and events are equally applicable to the emanation of a Ray of the human Monad into the evolutionary field. There, it becomes clothed in bodies of increasing density, eventually outgrows their limitations, and develops to full potency the hitherto latent powers. Similarly the descent of the spiritual Soul, the Ego, into each successive incarnation and the genetic principles involved, are symbolically described. The pillars, therefore, are signs that the masculine potency (Israel) is active and is entering the feminine (Rachel), as a result of which a new Universe and new generations of men are to appear. The setting up of the pillars and their anointing are spirituo-phallic and indicate the consecrated, divine nature of the cosmogonical and human genetic processes.
THE MYSTIC BIRTH
In a possible Initiatory interpretation of these verses the Candidate for Initiation, and for re-Initiation at a higher level, is represented by Jacob- Israel. Preparations for a further Rite and for passage through a higher Degree or Grade in the Greater Mysteries are also indicated. During the Initiatory Rite the Monad of the Candidate and his spiritual Self, or Ego, are brought into intimate relationship. Thus in verses ten, eleven and twelve God instructs Israel, who willingly obeys. The creative fire in the body and especially in the cerebro-spinal system, which is represented by the pillar, is further sublimated or “set up”, meaning directed upwards, its energy being consecrated to purely intellectual and spiritual creativity. Thereafter a new level of consciousness is entered and a “new” being is born from the “old”, as symbolised by the fact that the dying Rachel gave birth to Benjamin. Ever must the old, meaning the preceding, be displaced by the new, and this obtains on both the Spirit, and the matter sides of the Cosmos as a whole, and applies equally to the successive incarnations and Initiations of man.
16. And they journeyed from. Beth-el; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.
17. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
18. And it came to pass, as her Soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin.
19. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem.
20. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.
Rachel’s travail and death further portray both the intensity of effort and the self-surrender demanded of all, whether Logoi or men, who would and do advance from one dispensation or state of existence to its natural successor.
The double naming of the offspring, first by the mother and then by the father, indicates that both matter (Rachel) and Spirit (Jacob) transmit their powers and attributes to each “new” creation. The order of the naming correctly shows that the attributes of matter predominate in the early phases of manifestation and evolution and those of Spirit in the later stages. Furthermore, the fact that the name given by Israel is the one adopted indicates the preponderance and eventual triumph of Spirit over matter.
Those students and readers of the Bible who prefer a literal rather than an interpretative reading are reminded that a strictly historical narrative would hardly be likely to include direct, objective conversation with the Lord God and the receipt of instructions and promises from Him. Neither would it contain the repeated accounts of actions and events which so accurately, if allegorically, describe Macrocosmic, microcosmic, natural and Initiatory Genetical principles, laws and processes. As these descriptions constantly appear and re-appear in many Books of the Bible, strong support is given to the view that the authors were inspired Initiates who had acquired cosmogonical, occult and mystical knowledge at their Initiations into the Greater Mysteries and thereafter sought to share it with humanity. This they did by revealing their acquired wisdom by means of allegorical stories of the primeval creation of the Universe and of events presumed to have occurred on this planet, including the appearance of the first man and woman, a global flood and the preservation by Noah of his family and certain animals in an ark, and pseudo-historical references to the birth and deve¬lopment, under divine direction, of the Israelite nation. This view is further supported by the constant use of the universal system of symbolism which is employed in the Scriptures and religious art of other ancient nations, and is always readily susceptible of the same interpretation.
21. And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.
22. And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
23. The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:
24. The son of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:
25. And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:
26. And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan- aram.
27. And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.
28. And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.
29. And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sorts Esau and Jacob buried him.
With the death of Rachel—and shortly afterwards of Israel—a dispensation conies to a close and the new or Joseph Manvantara is about to begin. The transition is indicated by the continued but brief journeying of the household, creative activity within it, and the enumeration of the progeny of Israel.
Certain occult numbers are introduced into these verses which deserve consideration. The number is indicated by the tower of Edar, as also by the pillar at Rachel’s tomb. This number, which is conceptive, Initiatory and phallic, refers to primary creative activity and the inception of that which is new. Reuben and Bilhah constitute a dyad and their intercourse portrays the generative activity and productivity characteristic of a pair, or the number 2.
The next mentioned number is 12, which by reduction is 3 and so indicates natural, numerical and creative progression. 3 is always indi¬cative of completion of a phase of primordial creative activity consisting of the positive (father), the negative (mother) and their united offspring. 12 as a number also indicates totality, completion, a statement of the cosmic whole. All possible products are included in this number and, in consequence, at the close of the Israel dispensation the whole twelve children are named, indicating full attainment and the perfected expression of all potentialities. The twelve Signs of the Zodiac, with which the twelve sons of Israel are in correspondence and of which they are personifications, represent astrologically,