MASTER MONOGRAPH ROSICRUCIAN ORDER AMORC INITIATE SECTION. Degree 8 Nos Know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and the gods.

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1 MASTER MONOGRAPH ROSICRUCIAN ORDER AMORC INITIATE SECTION Degree 8 Nos. 1 2 Know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and the gods. 2011, Supreme Grand Lodge of the Ancient & Mystical Order Rosæ Crucis. 075 Published by the Grand Lodge of the English Language Jurisdiction, AMORC, Inc. 1011

2 Eighth Degree No. 1 CONCURRENCE As this monograph discusses the mystical conception of the Divine, we feel it appropriate to provide the following excerpt from the book Unto Thee I Grant. Much of this work has been attributed to Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhnaton, and is a testimony to the wisdom possessed by the Initiates of ancient Egypt, notably those who gathered in the Mystery Schools from which our Order came. Know there is but one Divinity, the author, the creator, the ruler of the world, almighty, eternal, and incomprehensible. The Sun is not this Divinity, though Its noblest image; the Sun enlightens the world with its brightness and its warmth gives life to the products of Earth; admire the sun as the creature, the instrument of the Divine; but do not worship it.... In the depths of the Divine Mind revolves all knowledge; the secrets of the future lie open before It. The thoughts of your hearts are naked to Its view; the Supreme Intelligence knows your decisions before they are made. With respect to Divinity s prescience, there is nothing contingent; with respect to Its providence, there is nothing accidental. Wonderful is the Divine in all ways; Its counsels are inscrutable; The manner of Its knowledge transcends our comprehension. The Supreme Intelligence is gracious and beneficent; It created the world in mercy and love. Its goodness is conspicuous in all Its works; It is the fountain of excellence, the center of perfection.... But you, O humans! The Divine has distinguished with particular favor; and exalted your station above all creatures. 2 (continued on page 12)

3 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 1 On this day on the R+C path Dear Fratres and Sorores, In the last degree, you were initiated into the psychic dimension of your being and you were taught how to expand this dimension beyond your physical body. I sincerely hope that you have succeeded, even to a partial degree, in projecting into space and thereby living that state of consciousness which usually results from such projections. You should know, however, that even if you did not obtain the anticipated results, this seeming lack of success will not have any negative consequences on your inner evolution, nor will it compromise your progress in the Rosicrucian studies. As we mentioned on various occasions, the attainment of mystical powers is only secondary on the path of Knowledge and does not necessarily reflect a good understanding of cosmic laws. Nonetheless, I encourage you to continue practicing psychic projection on a regular basis, as this faculty does truly open up a new world for you, one where you can attune with the invisible planes. The study of the Eighth Degree should help you to cross the portals of your Inner Temple and meet the Master the soul itself residing permanently within. During the next several months, you will learn much about its nature, evolution, and cosmic destiny. In fact, the doctrines of reincarnation, karma, free will, and all other laws directly concerned with the spirituality of incarnated humans will be revealed in this degree. The Eighth Temple Degree is of considerable interest, and I am convinced that all of the subjects discussed herein will answer the most basic questions asked by all mystics, including the meaning that should be given to life. You will also note that many of the subjects touch upon intriguing philosophical concepts and consider various topics fully deserving your attention. Before closing this brief introduction to the Eighth Degree, I wish to remind you of the importance of the work that all Rosicrucians should accomplish in contributing to the extension of our Order. In fact, I am convinced that the Rosicrucian philosophy is the answer to the mystical aspirations of many seekers and that it will play a definite role in the growth of awareness of spiritual values which will serve as a foundation for the Aquarian 3

4 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 1 Age. As a consequence, I am counting on your help to make our Order known to all people who express the need and desire to better understand the mysteries of life. If you neglect this task, these searching souls will surely go elsewhere when they seek answers to their quest. But in so doing, they risk being led into certain movements or sects that offer no traditional knowledge and which, despite all appearances, are sure to act contrary to their true happiness and evolution. Thus, your role is to act as a guardian of the True Light. It is in the hope that this new stage will bring you closer to Cosmic Illumination, that I send you my best wishes for Peace Profound. Sincerely and fraternally, Christian Bernard Imperator NOTE: The new symbol that appears in the lower corners of each page of this monograph traditionally denotes the Eighth Degree of AMORC s Initiate Section. This symbol is a hieroglyphic sign used in the Osirian mysteries of ancient Egypt. It was said to represent the soul and the blood of the goddess Isis. In their ceremonies, it was called Thet. Worn as an amulet, it was said to have the power to erase all sins committed during the day. Naturally, this was a baseless superstition. 4

5 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 1 Dear Fratres and Sorores, For centuries, the Eighth Degree of our Order has been devoted to the study of the human soul and to the laws governing its evolution on both the earthly and cosmic planes. Some of these laws were provided in the Third Atrium Degree, but our explanations at that time had the primary goal of familiarizing you with the pertinent mystical doctrines especially reincarnation and karma. The time has now come to reexamine these doctrines and to delve more deeply into the teachings of the Neophyte Section. THE EXISTENCE OF DIVINITY: Before beginning our study of the soul itself, it is important to consider the existence of the Divine, because everything dealing with spirituality is by necessity connected to a transcendental state or condition associated with an infinite, unlimited, and immortal something. In other words, if we admit that humans possess a spiritual dimension, it is logical to think that this dimension is of a divine nature and that it has its source in a world, plane, or sphere which is beyond our sensory perception and which we cannot comprehend objectively. Departing from this principle, the problem then is to know why we live on Earth and how we should proceed to establish a conscious relationship between ourselves and the Supreme Intelligence we are trying to comprehend. Rosicrucian mysticism has the specific aim of encouraging all people to know themselves better so that they may master their destiny and attune themselves with the Divinity, as it manifests within and around them. One of the major questions that we ask ourselves is: Who or what is Divinity? In attempting to answer this question, it is best to define the Divine by deciding what It is not. From a Rosicrucian viewpoint, it is quite wrong to consider the Supreme Intelligence as being an anthropomorphic Being. Although this may seem evident to you, do not forget that because of certain religious dogmas many people continue to perceive Divinity as a Supreme Being possessing both a human form and also tendencies and reactions usually typical of human beings. If you should ask them about their religious beliefs, you will note that most of them have a simplistic understanding of the Divine and describe It in an anthropomorphic and personal manner. In other words, many imagine the Supreme Being as being a Super person sitting on a throne surrounded by clouds who decides the destiny of all mortals with the authority and 5

6 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 1 power of a despotic monarch. Such an attitude on their part explains why so many believers fear Divinity s anger, revenge, or opposition, whereas others, by contrast, attribute all the characteristics of a beneficent Being such as forgiveness, indulgence, and love to the Divine. Obviously, the Supreme Being does not assume human form, nor can all the faults and qualities attributed to humans be applied to It. Moreover, the Divine is not simply a spiritual entity. To think this would in effect confer upon It a limited nature which, although immaterial, would be confined to some kind of sphere in an invisible world. This would imply that the Supreme Intelligence could be conscious of only one part of Creation at a time in this instance the one that It would be watching over for personal reasons and at a time It decreed. In fact, such a conception of the Divinity is quite similar to the preceding one, the only difference being that the first bestows a physical individuality upon the Divine while the other does not. However, in both cases, the Divine is depicted with intellectual and emotional characteristics innate to human beings. These two approaches to the Divinity are unsatisfactory to the mystic, as they are based on an attempt to define the Indefinable by means of limited expressions that are only applicable to humans. It is interesting to note that people who hold an anthropomorphic conception of the Supreme Intelligence tend to place It outside of themselves, somewhere in space or in the sky. This is especially true of certain religious cults and primitive tribes. This tendency is quite natural, as one cannot personify the Divine without establishing a distinction between what It is and what humans are, much as we commonly do in everyday life by separating ourselves from our surroundings. However, such a distinction has no foundation, since Supreme Intelligence does not constitute a distinct entity that is separate from the rest of Creation. On the contrary, the Divinity is an integral part of Creation and permeates all that exists in the universe. This means that It is simultaneously within us and outside of us. In other words, Divinity penetrates the smallest cells of our body as well as the most distant star in the heavens. For this specific reason the Microcosm is said to be the reflection of the Macrocosm or, in the words of Hermetic law, As above, so below. The best way to comprehend all this is to look for the Divine within our inner being, as is indicated in the expression: God of my Heart and God of my Realization. 6

7 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 1 Understandably, we may ask ourselves why humans are so inclined to anthropomorphize, to humanize, the Divine. This is easy to understand if we realize that human beings natural tendency is to describe Divinity by using imagery found within ourselves and in our environment. We must recognize that it is difficult to conceive of the Divine without comparing it even for an instant to conceptions that are purely human. In fact, we are all inclined to make something tangible even when it is not. You will note that many individuals do not believe in a deity only because they cannot see or hear it, or prove that it exists in a physical state. One of the greatest signs of ignorance is to deny the reality of something under the pretext that it makes no impression on our objective senses. To illustrate this matter, let us take the example of air. Prehistoric humans breathed like us, but probably never asked themselves any questions concerning what it was that they breathed. Since then, science has proven the existence of air. As such, questioning whether or not this gaseous fluid exists does not change the fact that it permeates the atmosphere, even though we cannot see it. Furthermore, our questioning does not affect the nature of air, nor the effects that it has on us. This simple example demonstrates how the belief or non-belief regarding something that eludes our senses and our control does not affect the existence or non-existence of this thing. By virtue of this cosmic law, the Divine is; the absence of It is not. Even materialists, when using logic, cannot deny that everything they observe here on Earth and in the heavens has, by necessity, some kind of origin. By admitting that all effects are the result of a cause, they must then acknowledge that Creation, as it manifests itself before their eyes, is in turn the result of an original principle. Since they do not believe that a Supreme Intelligence exists, this original principle is for them synonymous to chance, whereas mystics relate it to an Intelligence that consciously directed everything that it created. Moreover, when one considers the beauty and harmony prevailing in the four kingdoms of nature as well as the universe itself, it seems inappropriate to speak of a random cause when defining the source of this beauty and harmony. In fact, most materialists are the victims of an excess of rationalism and of a deliberate refusal to let themselves be swayed by their emotions. In this regard they lack the capability of wonderment that mystics have. 7

8 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 1 THE NATURE OF DIVINITY: For Rosicrucians, the Divine is the Universal Intelligence that conceived all of Creation, the Original Word being the Primordial Vibration that Divinity used to produce the manifested world. This Intelligence is omnipresent, not being limited by either time or space. To animate the universe, this Intelligence breathed a Soul into everything that exists. Naturally, this Universal Soul, which is perfect and absolute, expresses itself best and with the most intensity in living beings. This is so, because Life gives rise to evolution upon contact with matter. Among all the creatures populating Earth, humans constitute the best vehicle for such divine attributes. This relative superiority arises because humans possess an individual soul and possess all of the faculties which allow us to express virtue in our behavior. We will return to this important discussion in the next several monographs, because it is through the experiences of our soul personality that human beings are able to evolve. Although it is true that Supreme Intelligence is impersonal and should not be made into an anthropomorphic Being, it is also true that the most beautiful virtues of human nature are an expression of Divine Perfection. In other words, what we call love, compassion, goodness, sincerity, humility, altruism, etc., are an extension of Divine Wisdom, and incarnated humans manifest it in our behavior when we have attained a sufficiently advanced level of evolution. This means that the more positive our conception of the Divine is, the more we are inclined to act according to the noblest of ideals. Therefore, the way in which we apprehend Divinity is significant, in that it modifies our daily behavior and greatly determines what direction we follow in life. In fact, it serves as the foundation of our philosophy and as a guide in distinguishing between good and evil. Such discernment is indispensable for the use of our free will in a positive way. There is an old adage which states that an artist is recognized by his or her work. If we apply this adage to the Divine, we need only contemplate nature and humanity itself so as to form an opinion about It. No one can deny that flowers, animals, and humanity, in their best and truest forms, are the work of an incomparable Intelligence. This Intelligence no matter whether we call it Logos, Yahweh, Allah, or Brahma is the Unique Source of all things in existence and constitutes the greatest Mystery with which the human soul is confronted in each of its incarnations. Most people believe, in fact, in 8

9 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 1 the existence of Divinity and consciously seek, more or less, to know It. The basic difference between people is in our conception of the Divine and in the means by which people observe the faith which animates us, these differences being principally connected to the influence that religion has on us. If everyone were to behave according to the most positive aspects of our faith, peace would reign among all people on Earth. In concluding the study of this monograph, let us remember to keep in mind the important distinction between the words God (or the Divine, Divinity, Supreme Intelligence, or Supreme Being) and Cosmic. These two words, as used in our teachings, are not synonymous and do not correspond to the same philosophical concept. The first, as we mentioned previously, designates the Universal Intelligence that forms the basis of Creation and of everything existing on the visible and invisible planes. The second corresponds to the entirety of the physical and metaphysical laws by which this Intelligence manifests itself in the universe, and naturally, on our planet. As God is inaccessible to the understanding of incarnated humans, it is rather the Cosmic which must be the subject of our studies. That is why we usually refer to cosmic laws in our monographs. From the Rosicrucian viewpoint, they are the natural and universal expression of the Divinity. As such, they are perfect and immutable. In the next monograph, we will begin our study of the human soul by examining its characteristics. As we shall see, the human soul is an individualization of the Universal Soul and possesses all its characteristics and attributes. With best wishes for Peace Profound, Sincerely and fraternally, YOUR CLASS MASTER 9

10 Practical Application Whatsoever thou resolvest to do, do it quickly. Defer not till the evening what the morning may accomplish. Unto Thee I Grant During this week we suggest that you review the explanations given at the beginning of the Third Atrium Degree regarding the animistic, anthropomorphic, and mechanistic conceptions of the Divine. These conceptions gave rise to the great religious currents that have marked human history namely, theism, pantheism, monotheism, polytheism, monism, dualism, pluralism, and deism. In conjunction with this, we suggest that you meditate on your conception of the Divinity at this stage of your Rosicrucian studies. You will also want to review what you have learned regarding the human soul and the doctrines connected with its evolution reincarnation and karma, in particular. This review will help you to remember the important principles and prepare you for the subjects that will soon be covered in this degree. 10

11 Summary of This Monograph After carefully reading this monograph, read the following summary. It contains the major principles on which you are to reflect and meditate in the coming days. If any of the points are difficult to understand, refer to the explanations given in this monograph. Moreover, we advise you to read this summary again immediately before your next sanctum period. Everything dealing with spirituality is by necessity connected to a transcendental state or condition associated with an infinite, unlimited, and immortal something. Rosicrucian mysticism has the specific aim of encouraging all people to know themselves better so that they may master their destiny and attune themselves with the Divinity, as it manifests Itself within and around them. Many people tend to describe the Supreme Intelligence as an anthropomorphic Being because it is only natural for us to conceive It by using imagery found within ourselves and in our environment. By admitting that all effects are the result of a cause, we must then acknowledge that Creation, as it manifests itself to us, is in turn the result of an original principle that can be related to Supreme Intelligence. For Rosicrucians, the Divine is the Universal Intelligence that conceived all of Creation, the Original Word being the Primordial Vibration that Divinity used to produce the manifested world. To animate the universe, Divine Intelligence breathed a Soul into everything that exists. This Universal Soul, which is perfect and absolute, expresses Its divine attributes most fully in living beings. The most beautiful virtues of human nature such as love, compassion, goodness, sincerity, humility, altruism, etc. are an extension of Divine Wisdom, and incarnated humans manifest it in our behavior when we have attained a sufficiently advanced level of evolution. The basic difference between people is in our conception of the Divine and in the means by which people observe the faith which animates us, these differences being principally connected to the influence that religion has on us. If everyone were to behave according to the most positive aspects of our faith, peace would reign among all people on Earth. 11

12 Concurrence (continued) The Supreme Intelligence gave you reason, to maintain your dominion; It gave you language, to improve your society; and It exalted your mind with the powers of meditation, to contemplate and adore Its inimitable perfections. O think not, bold human, because your punishment is delayed, that the arm of Divinity is weakened; neither flatter yourself with hopes that It winks at all your doings.... The high and the low, the rich and the poor, the wise and the ignorant, when the Soul has shaken off the cumbrous shackles of this mortal life shall quickly receive from the Great Law of the Divine, a just and everlasting compensation, according to their works. Then shall the wicked learn and make compensation in course of time; but the heart of the righteous shall rejoice in the Divine s rewards. UNTO THEE I GRANT 12

13 NOTES 13

14 Eighth Degree No. 2 CONCURRENCE The eminent American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote many essays relating to mysticism. The subject matter treated in the excerpt below agrees fully with the Order s teachings concerning the spiritual ties that bind the human soul and the Universal Soul. Therefore, we recommend that you read this quotation from The Over-Soul carefully. The Supreme Critic on all the errors of the past and the present, and the only prophet of that which must be, is that great nature in which we rest, as earth lies in the soft arms of the atmosphere; that Unity, that Over-Soul, within which every person s particular being is contained and made one with all other; that common heart of which all sincere conversation is the worship, to which all right action is submission; that overpowering reality which confutes our tricks and talents, and constrains every one to pass for what one is, and to speak from one's character and not from one's tongue, and which evermore tends to pass into our thought and hand and become wisdom and virtue and power and beauty. We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within human beings is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE. It (the soul) is undefinable, unmeasurable; but we know that it pervades and contains us. We know that all spiritual being is in a person. A wise old proverb says, God comes to see us without bell : that is, as there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the infinite heavens, so there is no bar or wall in the soul, where a human being, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins. The walls are taken away. We lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to all the attributes of God. RALPH WALDO EMERSON ( ) 14

15 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 2 Dear Fratres and Sorores, After attempting to define what Divinity is in the Absolute, we will continue the study of this degree by examining today what the Rosicrucian tradition teaches regarding the human soul. This investigation is necessary before we can consider the fundamental laws governing the spiritual evolution of humans and the way in which we must endeavor to perfect our own nature. The belief in the existence of the soul goes back to the beginning of time, because, as we explained in the Third Atrium Degree, the concept of the soul appeared at the time when humans became conscious of our duality and envisaged the existence of a Supreme Intelligence or of a Transcendental Force. However, during the Egyptian civilization and more particularly during the New Kingdom the soul became the subject of a religious cult. The Egyptians named the soul Ba and represented it in the form of an ibis. But at other times it took the shape of a lotus, a flower growing abundantly all along the Nile. As for the physical body, which was called Khat, the Egyptians symbolized it by a statuette sculpted in human form. This statuette was generally made from wood and adorned the burial chambers of the nobles and pharaohs. In their writings, the initiates of Egypt referred as well to the Ka that is, the psychic body. For them, the psychic body was like our invisible double and had the power of traveling into the world of the dead, particularly during sleep. This belief reminds us of the subject of projection that was discussed in the Seventh Temple Degree. THE HUMAN SOUL: According to our Order s teachings, the soul of each human being is an individualization of the Universal Soul and, thus, an emanation of Divinity itself. Therefore, it possesses all of the latter s attributes and characteristics. In other words, the soul is immaterial, immortal, and perfect. In fact, we may consider it to be the expression of the Divine in each human being. The soul is thus the reflection of Divinity s Omnipotence, Omnipresence, and Omniscience. This concept is found in all esoteric traditions and in most religions. Many sacred texts state, in virtually identical wording, that Human beings were made in the image of the Divine. Naturally, this resemblance applies to our spiritual nature and not to our physical body. Unfortunately, the religious interpretation of this allegory is too often literal and distorts its true esoteric 15

16 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 2 significance. However, it helps us to understand why so many people have an anthropomorphic conception of Divinity. THE IMMATERIALITY OF THE SOUL: People who admit the existence of the soul consider it to be immaterial that is, invisible and intangible. In other words, they believe and rightfully so that it is impossible either to see or touch the soul. Nevertheless, we can feel its presence under certain conditions and at certain moments, particularly at the moment of its incarnation or immediately after transition. When incarnated into humans, the soul arises as a subtle energy that permeates every cell of our being, much as air fills every room in a house. Contrary to what is taught in the lessons of many religious faiths or included in the teachings of certain philosophical schools, the soul is not confined to a specific organ, such as the heart or brain, nor is it found in a particular psychic center, such as the solar plexus or pineal gland. Such unwarranted beliefs are the result of an erroneous understanding of the soul s real nature. As a spiritual essence, the soul animates our entire body. Here we are using the original meaning of the Latin verb animare, to animate namely, to endow with breath and consciousness. In passing, it is interesting to note that the word soul is associated with the terms anilas, anemos, and anima which in Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin respectively mean breath, wind, and vital breath. The experiment in Degree 7, No. 4, which consisted of awakening the psychic body by means of deep positive breathing, made us aware of the soul s omnipresence within us. Indeed, when this experiment is done properly, the stimulation felt immediately afterwards is not confined to a single organ; rather, it is manifested with the same intensity throughout the physical body. As we explained in the Seventh Temple Degree, the spiritual aspect of our being occupies the same dimension in us as the psychic aspect, because the second is the direct consequence of the first and cannot exist without it. Therefore, these two aspects are intimately connected and vibrate in harmony within each cell and, as a consequence, throughout our body. To understand human duality properly, we must not limit the nature of the soul by confining it to some part of the body. THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL: When we acknowledge the existence of the soul and recognize its 16

17 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 2 divine origin, we cannot doubt its immortality. As a spiritual energy, the soul is indestructible and unalterable. Therefore, as opposed to matter, the soul is composed of an essence that makes it eternal. Returning to the ancient Egyptians, it is important to understand that their practice of mummification was not intended to glorify the physical body. They were not trying to immortalize the body when they dried and embalmed it. Rather, they were attempting to prolong the material existence of the deceased, believing as they did in its eventual resurrection, or to help the soul maintain in the hereafter those physical and mental faculties that it possessed during its incarnation. Because of these faculties, the soul was able to walk into the realm of the deceased and see what was happening. Although this belief may seem quite primitive to us, it nonetheless indicates how intrigued the Egyptians were by the afterlife and how convinced they were of the soul s immortality. Thus, the initiates of the Mystery Schools understood fully that the soul could not live again in the mummy s body and that its perceptions after death did not depend on those impressions and sensations experienced while on the earthly plane. It is impossible for anyone to prove that the soul is of an immaterial essence capable of animating every cell of our physical body, and likewise it cannot be demonstrated that the soul is immortal. What we are dealing with is inner conviction and faith, in its noblest sense. However, it cannot be denied that each human is a being conscious of himself or herself and his or her surroundings. Yet, consciousness is an invisible and intangible phenomenon. Moreover, contrary to the opinion of moralists, consciousness does not exclusively arise from cerebral activity, since the brain is simply the seat of our objective and subjective faculties that is, of our sensory perception and mental processes. If the brain is either destroyed or damaged because of accident or illness, we will fall into a coma for a certain length of time. Nonetheless, we will continue to live because the vital functions of our body are not under the control of the brain. As you have learned in previous degrees, these functions depend on the subconscious, which in turn is a specific manifestation of Cosmic Consciousness, such as it manifests itself within each individual. Moreover, it is incorrect to think that a person who is in a comatose state is totally unconscious. Indeed, after coming out this state, many people were able to explain not 17

18 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 2 only what they had perceived or felt on the spiritual plane, but were also able to describe both their whereabouts and the conversations of people in their presence, even though they seemed completely cut off from any material surroundings. The example of the clinically dead is even more significant, because individuals who have experienced this state were revived after having felt a momentary separation between their soul and physical body. As their testimony confirms, this separation does not involve the annihilation of all phases of consciousness. While in this state they knew at every moment who they were as individuals and could perceive with as much realism as when they were on the material plane. In most instances, their experience was so beautiful and moving that it was with much regret that they came back onto the earthly plane. THE PERFECTION OF THE SOUL: As the human soul is an individualization of the Universal Soul and, as such, is an emanation of the Divine, it is by necessity perfect. This means that it is impossible to make it more virtuous or to increase its potential wisdom. Indeed, as an image of its source, the soul is pure, immutable, and absolute. Consequently, it is not our goal to make the soul more perfect in its divine nature, as this would imply that the soul is perfectible. As we will see in upcoming monographs, our cosmic mission is to become conscious of the soul s spiritual dimension and to express it plainly in all that we think, say, and do. To succeed in this endeavor, we must learn to attune with the inner self and purify our personality of those imperfections which have accumulated over many lifetimes through the improper application of free will. In fact, this progressive purification is based on spiritual alchemy, which each of us has the duty to achieve within our innermost being. At the conclusion of this spiritual alchemy, our soul will shine at its loveliest and will illuminate our entire existence. We will then live in perfect harmony with the most elevated planes of Cosmic Consciousness, as we will have attained the state of Mastership. Not only is it impossible for us to perfect our divine nature; it is equally impossible for us to soil, alter, or degrade it. This point must be kept in mind, as many religions teach their faithful that humans corrupt their soul whenever they commit a sin in other words, whenever they do not act according to the dogmas that these religions use to determine what is good or bad 18

19 Rosicrucian Order AMORC Initiate Section Degree 8 Number 2 within human behavior. Some religions consider that lying, stealing, or acting in some other reprehensible way will tarnish one s spirituality and thus necessitate a purification that is only obtainable after death and after remaining for a certain period of time in a purgatory. In extreme cases, the sinner is condemned to burn in hell for eternity, as his or her sins are too grave to be expiated. It is evident that such dogmas do not correspond at all to the reality of the cosmic laws guiding our mystical evolution. In fact, whenever we act contrary to the well-being of others or do not conform to basic aspects of morality, we bring a karmic decree into action that will eventually exact some form of compensation. We will soon see why and how this is. In keeping with the preceding explanations, each human being is animated with a soul that is immaterial, immortal, and perfect. However, mystics consider the goal of earthly existence to be an evolvement toward perfection. On the surface, these two statements seem to contradict each other. In the next lesson, we will see that this is not so and that they are perfectly reconcilable. With best wishes for Peace Profound, Sincerely and fraternally, YOUR CLASS MASTER 19

20 Practical Application Whatsoever thou resolvest to do, do it quickly. Defer not till the evening what the morning may accomplish. Unto Thee I Grant During this week, we suggest that you meditate on the contents of the following quotations, as they demonstrate how intrigued the great philosophers were by the nature of the soul. Each human being is a substance, like any other, only because he or she is a separate individual. Like any natural substance, he or she is composed of matter and an immaterial essence. But natural substances are inorganic and organic, and human beings are an organic substance composed of an organic body (as matter) and a soul (as essence) which is the primary actuality of an organic body capable of life. Still, human beings are not the only organism, and every organism has a soul. What differentiates human beings from the natural and organic substances, and approximates us to a supernatural substance Divinity is reason, or intellect, and although intellect is only one of the powers of the soul, intellect is the only one of the powers of human beings that has no bodily organ; it alone is immortal; it alone is divine. ARISTOTLE ( BCE) Those who do not comprehend why the soul contains Beauty within itself seek an outer realization of this beauty through laborious work. Their aim should rather be an expansion of their inner being and, rather than scattering themselves in the Multiple, they should abandon it for the One and thus increase the flow of the divine fountain whose stream flows within them. You can only grasp the Infinite through a faculty superior to reason by entering into a state where you are no longer a finite being, but where the Divine Essence is imparted into you. It is ecstasy. It is the liberation of your consciousness from its finite consciousness. PLOTINUS ( CE) 20

21 If one will work an inward work, one must pour all one s powers into oneself as into a corner of the soul, and must hide oneself from all images and forms. Then one must come into a forgetting and a not-knowing. One must be in a stillness and silence where the ineffable word may be heard. When one knows nothing, it is opened and revealed. MEISTER ECKHART (ca ) The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but there remains of it something which is eternal. And this something appertains to the essence of the mind; it is conceived by a certain eternal necessity through the very essence of the Divine. BARUCH SPINOZA ( ) Birth, life, death are the states of the soul only.... Consequently, our body only is perishable, the essence of us is not perishable, and must have been existent during that time when our body had no existence. Human life is dual. It consists of two lives one animal and one spiritual. The first life is the life of spirit; one's soul lives in that life separately from the body, and must live on in it after the separation from the body. IMMANUEL KANT ( ) 21

22 Summary of This Monograph After carefully reading this monograph, read the following summary. It contains the major principles on which you are to reflect and meditate in the coming days. If any of the points are difficult to understand, refer to the explanations given in this monograph. Moreover, we advise you to read this summary again immediately before your next sanctum period. The belief in the existence of the soul goes back to the beginning of time. However, during the Egyptian civilization and more particularly during the New Kingdom the soul became the subject of a religious cult. The Egyptians named the soul Ba and often represented it in the form of an ibis. According to our Order s teachings, the soul of each human being is an individualization of the Universal Soul and, as a consequence, an emanation of Divinity itself. Therefore, it possesses all its attributes and characteristics. The soul is immaterial that is, invisible and intangible. When incarnated into a human being, it arises as a subtle energy which permeates every cell of his or her being. As a spiritual essence the soul animates our entire body, to use the original meaning of the Latin verb animare, to animate namely, to endow with breath and consciousness. When we acknowledge the existence of the soul and recognize its divine origin, we cannot doubt its immortality. Contrary to matter, it is indestructible and unalterable. The practice of mummification in ancient Egypt was not intended to glorify the physical body. Rather, the Egyptians were attempting to prolong the material existence of the deceased, in view of an eventual resurrection, or to help the soul to maintain in the hereafter those physical and mental faculties that it possessed during its incarnation. As the human soul is an individualization of the Universal Soul and, thus, is an emanation of the Divine, it is by necessity perfect. This means that it is impossible to make it more virtuous or to increase its potential wisdom. 22

23 Not only is it impossible for us to perfect our divine nature; it is equally impossible for us to soil, alter, or degrade it. This point must be kept in mind, as many religions teach their faithful that humans corrupt their soul whenever they commit a sin in other words, whenever they do not act according to the dogmas that these religions have determined to be good or bad within human behavior. 23

24 Consecrated to truth and dedicated to every Rosicrucian Grand Lodge of the English Language Jurisdiction, AMORC, Inc. Rosicrucian Park, San Jose, California, U.S.A. This monograph is not subject to sale or purchase by anyone. A sale or purchase may make the seller and purchaser subject to civil liability. This monograph is officially published by the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC, under the emblem appearing on the front cover, which is legally protected and ipso facto protects all engraved, printed, electronic, photocopied, photographed, or typed copies of its cover and of its content. It is not sold but loaned to the member as a privilege of membership. Thus, legal title, ownership, and right of ownership of this monograph are and remain those of A.M.O.R.C., to which it must be returned on simple demand. All scientific, philosophical, and mystical subjects covered in this monograph, as well as all symbols, titles, and passwords, are strictly confidential and are communicated to the member for his or her sole and exclusive information. Any other use or attempted use will automatically terminate active and regular affiliation with A.M.O.R.C., which is the only organization authorized to publish this monograph.. Printed on 100% recycled post-consumer fiber using soy-based ink.

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