At the turning point of time
The cosmic spirit-light stepped
Into earthly evolution;
Had ended its reign;
The bright light of day
Streamed into human souls;
The poor shepherd hearts
The wise kings’ heads.
Sun of Christ,
Our hearts —
So that good results
Our hearts beget,
Forcefully will to do.
Foundation Stone Meditation, Rudolf Steiner
And the God of Gods created the soul, fashioning it for beauty.
He gave unto it the gentleness of a breeze at dawn, the scent of flowers, the loveliness of moonlight.
He gave unto it also the cup of joy, and He said:
‘You shall not drink of this cup save that you have forgotten the past and renounced the future.’
He gave unto it also the cup of sorrow, saying:
‘Drink that you may understand the meaning of joy’.
Then God bestowed within the soul love that would depart with the first sigh of content,
And sweetness that would flee from the first word of arrogance.
He made a heavenly sign to guide it in the path of truth.
He placed in its depths an eye that would behold the unseen.
He created within it a fancy to flow like a river with phantoms and moving figures.
He clothed it in garments of longing woven by angels, from the rainbow.
Within it he placed also the darkness of bewilderment, which is the shadow of light.
And God took fire from the forge of anger,
Wind blowing from the desert of ignorance;
Sand he gathered from the seashore of selffulness
And dust from beneath the feet of the ages;
Thus he fashioned man.
And unto man He gave blind strength that leaps into a flame
In moments of mad passion, and lies down before desire.
God gave him life which is the shadow of death.
And the God of Gods smiled and wept, and He knew a love which hath no bound nor end;
Thus He united man and his soul.
Kahlil Gibran, The Soul
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me’.
The Hound of Heaven, Francis Thompson
What is the source of this universe? What is Brahman? From where do we come? By what power do we live? Where do we find rest? Who rules over our joys and sorrows, O seers of Brahman?
Shall we think of time, or of the own nature of things, or of a law of necessity, or of chance, or of the elements, or of the power of creation of woman or man? Not a union of these, for above them is a soul who thinks. But our soul is under the power of pleasure and pain!
They also saw the river of life impetuously rushing with the five streams of sense-feelings which come from five sources, the five elements. Its waves are moved by five breathing winds, and its origin is a fivefold fountain of consciousness. This river has five whirlpools, and the violent waves of five sorrows. It has five stages of pain and five dangerous windings and turnings.
In this vast Wheel of creation wherein all things live and die, wanders round the human soul like a swan in a restless flying, and she thinks that God is afar. But when the love of God comes down upon her, then she finds her own immortal life.
God is found in the soul when sought with truth and self-sacrifice, as fire is found in wood, water in hidden springs, cream in milk, and the oil in the oil-fruit.
Where the fire of the Spirit burns, where the wind of the Spirit blows, where the Soma-wine of the Spirit overflows, there a new soul is born.
It is when your spirit goes wandering upon the wind,
That you, alone and unguarded, commit a wrong unto others and therefore unto yourself.
And for that wrong committed must you knock and wait a while unheeded at the gate of the blessed.
Like the ocean is your god-self;
It remains for ever undefiled.
And like the ether it lifts but the winged. Even like the sun is your god-self;
It knows not the ways of the mole nor seeks it the holes of the serpent.
But your god-self dwells not alone in your being.
Much in you is still man, and much in you is not yet man,
But a shapeless pigmy that walks asleep in the mist searching for its own awakening.
And of the man in you would I now speak.
For it is he and not your god-self nor the pigmy in the mist, that knows crime and the punishment of crime.
Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.
Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.
And if any of you would punish in the name of righteousness and lay the ax unto the evil tree, let him see to its roots;
And verily he will find the roots of the good and the bad, the fruitful and the fruitless, all entwined together in the silent heart of the earth.
And you judges who would be just,
What judgment pronounce you upon him who though honest in the flesh yet is a thief in spirit?
What penalty lay you upon him who slays in the flesh yet is himself slain in the spirit?
And how prosecute you him who in action is a deceiver and an oppressor,
Yet who also is aggrieved and outraged?
And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?
Is not remorse the justice which is administered by that very law which you would fain serve?
Yet you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty.
Unbidden shall it call in the night, that men may wake and gaze upon themselves.
And you who would understand justice, how shall you unless you look upon all deeds in the fullness of light?
Only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen are but one man standing in twilight between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self,
And that the corner-stone of the temple is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“Sometimes a breath floats by me,
An odor from Dreamland sent,
Which makes the ghost seem nigh me
Of a something that came and went,
Of a life lived somewhere, I know not
In what diviner sphere.
Of mem’ries that come not and go not;
Like music once heard by an ear
That cannot forget or reclaim it;
A something so shy, it would shame it
To make it a show.
A something too vague, could I name it.
For others to know:
As though I had lived it and dreamed it,
As though I had acted and schemed it
And yet, could I live it over,
This Life which stirs in my brain;
Could I be both maiden and lover,
Moon and tide, bee and clover,
As I seem to have been, once again.
Could I but speak and show it.
This pleasure more sharp than pain.
Which baffles and lures me so!
The world would not lack a poet,
Such as it had
In the ages glad,
Lowell, The Twilight
So three years she throve and prospered, but in the fourth year, (mark again the occult number of perfection,) a great dread came upon her, she was plagued in “the abysmal deeps of personality” with a sore despair. The moment of choice, the turning point had come, that period of which Esoteric Buddhism speaks as occurring for the race in the fifth round but to which some exceptional personalities have forced themselves in this our fourth round. Many occultists will see their own experience mirrored in that of this tormented and lonely soul, contemplating her “palace of strength whereof the foundation stones were laid since her first memory,” only to see in its dark corners, “uncertain shapes, horrible nightmares, white-eyed phantasms and hollow shades enclosing hearts of flame.” Do we not seem to see all the elemental world, led on by the dread Dweller of the Threshold here confronting us? The struggle is even more powerfully depicted but the lesson is learned; the soul may retrieve herself by a lowly life: she throws aside her royal robes, and recognizing the need of mixing with her kind, begs for a “cottage in the vale.”
Poetical Occultism: II, Julius
I remember one night lying sleepless in bed,
That I heard what the moth to the fair candle said:
“A lover am I, if I burn it is well!
Why you should lie weeping and burning, do tell.”
“Oh my poor humble lover!” the caudle replied,
“My friend, the sweet honey away from we hied.
When sweetness away from my body departs,
A fire-like Farhads to my summit then starts.”
Thus she spoke, and each movement a torrent of pain
Adown her pale cheeks trickled freely like rain.
“Oh, suitor! with love you have nothing to do,
Since nor patience, nor power of standing have you.
Oh, crude one! a flame makes you hasten away;
But I, till completely consumed, have to stay.
If the burning of love makes your wings feel this heat,
See how I am consumed, from the head to the feet!”
But a very small portion had passed of the night
When a fairy-fated maiden extinguished her light.
She was saying while smoke from her head curled above,
“Thus ends, oh my boy, the existence of love!”
If the love-making science you wish to acquire,
You’re more happy extinguished than being on fire.
Do not weep o’er the grave of the slain for the friend:
Be glad! for to him lie will mercy extend.
If a lover, don’t wash the complaint from your head!
I have told you: don’t enter this ocean at all!
If you do; yield your life to the hurricane squall!
Conversation between the Candle and the Moth, translation G S Davie
If one goes through this trial by water – if one develops self-control – then one’s soul enters into a region of destiny where one not only has no ground beneath one’s feet and must find one’s own direction by a kind of ‘swimming’; the soul also enters here into a space devoid of air. One enters into an utter loneliness and wilderness of soul life.
The impulses of thinking, willing and feeling cease. One’s soul is like a sailing ship standing with sagging sails in windless weather. It enters into a condition in which all experiences cease. There is no basis upon which to sense, to feel, or to will. The soul is in complete loneliness.
Now the soul must find the presence of the spirit out of its own power. Without surrendering to passivity, it must find the strength for an impulse-to-action within itself. The soul’s awakening at the moment of falling asleep – awakening itself through the strength of its own inner being, through the power of the I itself, without any motive for staying awake – is the presence of the spirit (presence of mind).
The soul is spiritually present when it is silent. The power of the soul to keep itself awake at the moment of falling asleep is this presence of spirit. It makes intuition possible, and is necessary for intuitional knowledge.
These first three trials – these first three experiences – represent the human ascent into the spiritual world.
Valentin Tomberg, Inner Development, The Occult Trials
I understood that this man, whose name was something like ‘Heoman’, had been telling the girl magical tales of Egypt, and of the powers Egyptians possessed. I was wondering how she had come to know him, when, suddenly, the answer came.
I saw an episode from her past, when she had done something quite magical. Heoman had been there and witnessed it. It happened at a holiday gathering when she was about seven years old. A celebration was in progress. The girl’s family and guests were feasting on the grounds. Garlands of boughs and flowers adorned the tables and trellises. A lamb was roasting on a spit, the smoke rising in wisps.
The girl wandered into a nearby grove and sat beneath a large olive tree, telling herself a long, fanciful story about a maiden possessed of magical abilities. Acting as though she were that maiden, she tilted her face upward and gazed into the sky, crying earnestly, “O, gentle Wind, bring my little bird to me.” She threw her arms wide open – and just then a small bird settled on her wrist.
Heoman stood nearby, and had been watching and listening in amusement. But when he saw the bird alight upon her wrist, he realised that she had a gift. Later that day he spoke with her privately, wanting to hear her ideas about the world, and found that she possessed unusual wisdom for her age. That was how they became friends. I saw then that this little girl was Mary, later to be known as Mary Magdalene.
Estelle Isaacson, Through the Eyes of Mary Magdalene