(One of several lectures on the Adytum)
In the last talk upon this subject, the “Magic of the Mass,” we brought the symbology of our Rose up to the point wherein we discovered that the Calyx formed the Chalice; the upper part of the Calyx formed the “Star” (five pointed), corresponding to the Day Star or Sun (Son) or God (Logos) and both formed the outer physical vehicle of the Etheric and Astral vehicles of the Logos, all comprising the material Body of the Sun or external vehicle of the God or Logos of our Solar System. The Chalice and Star are shown in green, for green is the natural color by which the pure white luminosity of solar light is expressed when the chlorophyll cells of the plant register it in visibility. Pure white could not be so registered.
The five petals of the Rose, shown in red, show the Body of the Logos (mystically). This symbolized the life blood of creation, the pulsating River of Life and the Blood of the Lamb that was “slain from the Foundations of the World; mystically slain because the Logos is eternally crucified on the Cross of Creation, visible and invisible – the Great self-sacrifice. The Cross of Christ was a symbol of transience. The symbol of the Cross of Creation is the symbol of permanence.
The stamens and pistils of the Rose are gold, the Heart of the Rose, the Pure Gold of the Logos, the Goal of all Alchemy. This is shown by the golden disk in the Center of the Rose. The complete symbol is that of the factors in the Mass, when the Chalice and Wafer are elevated on the Cardinal Cross described by the Celebrant.
Now let us amplify our thought a bit further. The perfect Rose in full bloom is a glorious marvel but we must realize that, while it pleases the eye, it does not tell us its complete story. This is also true of human life. When human life is at its greatest activity, we see only the accomplishment of the moment. The Rose, as well as human life conceals the greater secret. If we attempt to penetrate that secret, we shall discover that the Rose will resist our efforts with surprising strength. The same is true of the human individual. We can tear apart the inner petals of the Rose, only with manifest difficulty, and then we shall be disappointed, for, instead of an easy access to its anatomical structure, we find, the deeper we seek to penetrate the closer the inner bud is folded together.
The more we attempt to penetrate toward the inner being of a human individual, the closer and more tenacious we find that the faculties of that individual are arrayed against any premature disclosure or revelation.
We may become surgeons and do a bit of anatomical work in dissection. However, on cutting our Rose sectionally, we discover that the golden virile factors within are not as yet compactly united in a single center, but are directed through all the structure of the flower, penetrating its every section.
How true this is with Man. His mental faculties are not centered in a single status of unity but are directed through all his physiological, psychical and psychological factors as well. We cannot possibly determine the real mental status of any human being at the time of his/her greatest activity or productivity, for those mental faculties are so enfolded and wrapped up in his various fields of interest and growth that it is seemingly impossible for us to isolate them. How then shall we discover the real Man and the Real Secret of the Rose? We must leave it to Time and Death, for the Dying Rose has a wonderful secret.
If we attempt to tear away the petals of the Rose while in bud or full bloom, they resist with surprising strength. If we seek to rush Nature’s process when the Rose is a bit past its prime, we are still thwarted, for the same inner confusion will be manifest. But something else does become apparent to the serious observer.
A few days ago, a gentleman came into our library, and seeing the rose used at the last Convocation exclaimed, “Why don’t you throw those roses away, they’re getting old and stale.” We looked at the roses and then at the questioner and replied “Would you throw your mother away just because she was getting old, and what the world calls “stale?” That’s nonsense, he replied, “there’s no comparison.”
“You’re wrong, my friend, there is a comparison. There are several hundreds of tribes and races that cast out their old and sick to die alone or be helped to the higher life by vultures or beasts of prey. But we call them aborigines, savages and ignorant. These old roses are just what your own mother may be in her old age – MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN EVER. Did it ever occur to you that the bright red of the rose in its prime does not begin to compare with the rich crimsons taken on in its “old age?” Every conceivable tint, shade and grade of richest color becomes obvious just when people say the rose is old. Are trees and foliage more beautiful in the plain green of summer than in the gorgeous hues of autumn? Is the pale rose of early dawn or the fiery yellow of Meridian as gorgeous as the sunset? Is the plain red of the Rose in its prime half as beautiful as the marvelous tints bordering almost to true black on the Rose when it is old? Is youth or middle age half as truly beautiful as the rich maturity and serenity of age when the fires of life are cooling, the nerves relaxing, the mind tranquil and the eye set toward the western horizon? There is a beauty in age that no other phase of life exhibits. Beauty in old roses from the garden and old roses in human life is identical in Principle. It differs only in application.
Old age is the symbol of work completed. This Rose did its work wherever it was placed. It would bloom equally well in palace or poorhouse, church or brothel. Its fragrance would penetrate the incense-laden atmosphere of a cathedral or with equal ease soften the lust-laden miasma of the House of Passion. There is a beauty in the fading rose, past its prime, that the tight bud did not have. There is a mellowness that the first bloom lacked. There is a rich, deep tinge, of velvet texture in material that bespeaks a work well and honestly performed, a mission fulfilled and a silent readiness to depart.
Autumn has a far richer coloring than Summer. Middle and Old Age have a far more impressive beauty than immature youth and belligerent, lusty manhood or womanhood with its self-assertiveness. Age is a beautiful thing for it reveals the fulfillment of what the earlier years hinted, whispered or promised.
Age reveals the secret of the Rose and of the Man.
Look, now, at this Dying Rose, in fact the Rose is nearly dead. The petals, the visible physical body, have fallen away. The world sees nothing here except a gaunt stalk. The mystic sees the most beautiful sight of all. Those golden stamens that we discovered were so hopelessly interpenetrated with the anatomical mechanism of the Rose in its prime – are now FOLDED AND COMPOSED IN THE COROLLA. A BEAUTIFUL CROWN, EQUAL IN SYMMETRY TO THAT WORN BY ANY EARTHLY SOVEREIGN.
That is the Secret of the Dying Rose, DEATH CONCEALS THE CROWN. The Crown comes only when the Great Adventure is ended, the Pilgrim returned home and the Supreme Sacrifice of Self is made.
It is so with humanity. The true man or woman is revealed only in death. Then we cease our criticisms and are amazed to note how many virtues we can discover in the so-called “departed.” The Secret of the Dying Rose teaches us that there is nothing more beautiful than the close of a beautiful life, one that has radiated true beauty and the perfume of perfection. How true it is that most of the best things in this world are appreciated only when we are about to lose them. Our Rose teaches us even more. Just as it lives its life and does the work to which it was born wherever it may be, so we are to do our work as best we can wherever we may be. How often we feel that we cannot work unless we can have things and people arranged thus and so. We seem to think everything should be fitted to us individually. It is not the way of the world. Conquerors accept the world as they find it, and make of it what they will.
The Dying Rose is the symbol of a beautiful incarnation. It is also the symbol of evolution and in this phase of its symbology, it teaches us that evolution is PROGRESSIVE CHANGE, not simply growth in the same continuous direction and verisimilitude, otherwise it would never have succeeded in passing the bud stage.
So, our Rose is really the true Symbol of Creation, extending its arms visible and invisible through celestial and terrestrial grades, through planetary and initiatory sequences to the four corners or boundaries of our part of Cosmos. East, or Aries, signifying the first activity of the circulating blood or life energy of the Logos; South or Capricorn, signifying the fecundity of all Creation and Nature in expression; West or Libra, the path of equilibrium through Initiation; and North or Cancer, the Collective attribute of the Logos, symbolized by Mother Earth which is the “receptacle of all things and reconstructs the types which she receives.”
Once more, let us study the Secret of the Dying Rose for as yet it is not fully revealed. The Secret is the Crown, but the Crown is a LIVING CROWN, or CROWN OF LIFE. Life is Fire, the Sovereign Element and King of all Elements. The Crown contains the SEED of the new body that is to be. For purposes of culture and easier manipulation it is customary to cultivate roses by cuts and shoots, but each blossom contains the seed nevertheless. The blossom of a plant is its sexual organ and contains the seed of the new growth. The human being, when dying, preserves the SEED ATOM of the future vehicles and the Crown or Corolla contains the Seed of the New Rose. Fire is life. Therefore, the Crown of the Rose shows the vital Fire of the Rose, situated in its Heart or Center, our original Point within the circle. Coming from the Center, the Flame of the Rose divides the segment of the central disk, forming the true heart and this is the symbol we so frequently observe in religious pictures, commonly called the “Sacred Heart of Jesus.” Jesus personified the Son or offspring of the Logos and the real significance is that of the True Heart of the Logos, as shown by the symbolism of our Rose. This is an instance that shows us how truly some religious symbology conceals a real truth instead of revealing it.
One final correspondence; If we examine a rose bud, we shall find, tightly wrapped, three visible petals. As the bud unfolds into what may be called its youthful bloom, we find that five large petals constitute its base. In full bloom, interlaced rows of petals show us seven distinct units clustered around the central heart. In its maturity, we find nine petals comprising its inner structure. Here the three, five, seven and nine of our College structure is exemplified in our glorious symbol.
So, our Rose, is the microcosmic verisimilitude of the Cosmic & Biblical ROSE OF SHARON, the Logos, whose physical body or vehicle is the Sun, our Solar Parent, and the Spiritual Source of our inner life. The Rosicrucian Brotherhood is, therefore, the Brotherhood of the Rose. It is the Brotherhood of the Rose and Cross, because the Great Rose is eternally crucified on the Cross of Its own Creation.
So we can join with the Celebrant when he says, “Nature is the Book in which Thy character is written” for Nature is God in Manifestation and Humanity is that phase of Nature by and through which God is THINKING HIMSELF INTO EXTERNAL EXPRESSION. O Nature! Thou something from No-Thing. Thou symbol of Wisdom. All Nature is a symbol. This Rose is an individual symbol but how wonderfully explanative of the Great Plan it is. Taken in its entirety, it explains the Gospel of Hermes; “All is One and that One is All, since all things were contained within the Creator before the Creation, and we can call Him all since all things are His members, etc.”
The next time you attend the Celebration of the Mass of the Four Elements, hold in mind the picture of the Rose. It would be even better if you could hold a rose before your eyes, as you hear the words, “Fruit of the Womb of Mother Earth, Fructified by Father Sky, Impregnated by Brother Wind, Nourished by Sweetheart Water, Brought forth by Friend Light.” This Rose is the Epitome of all these processes. It is the symbol and plan of human life. It is the Great Mystery of which our Chalice and its Host are the material emblems. It is the visible result of the Magnum Opus.
With this intimate picture of our Rose in mind we can better study the Chant.
“For Osiris Onnophris who is found perfect before the Gods, hath said:
These are the Elements of my Body,
Perfected through Suffering, Glorified through Trial,
For the scent of the Dying Rose is as the repressed Sigh of my suffering:
And the Flame-red Fire as the Energy of mine Undaunted Will:
And the Cup of Wine is the pouring out of the Blood of my Heart:
Sacrificed unto Regeneration, unto the Newer Life:
And the Bread and Salt are as the Foundations of my Body,
Which I destroy in order that they may be renewed.
For I am Osiris Triumphant, even Osiris Onnophris, the Justified:
I am He who is clothed with the Body of Flesh,
Yet in whom is the Spirit of the Great Gods:
I am the Lord of Life, triumphant over Death.
Those who partaketh with me shall arise with me:
I am the Manifestor in Matter of Those Whose Abode is the Invisible:
I am purified: I stand upon the Universe:
I am its Reconciler with the Eternal Gods:
I am the Perfector of Matter:
And without me, the Universe is not.”
In the Occult Mass the Celebrant does not call upon Jesus, the Christ. He calls upon the Sovereign Spirits of the Elements, Iam (water), Nour (fire), Ruach (air) and Iabeshah (earth) and it is his intention to focus the power so granted in the Elements before him, that they may become Seed. The magnetized Elements are never reserved, for it is the intention that as Seed, they must be planted immediately and their growth and development encouraged. The Occult Mass gives us in seed form, the Presence of a Spirit. The seed that is planted within us at the reception of the Elements makes an attempt to grow towards the Light, just as the seed sown in darkness.
After due contemplation and appreciation, however, of the Dying Rose and its secret, we turn more joyously to the Living Rose, for the Rose of Sharon died only that He might live eternally and conquer death. Anything to be conquered must be met so Christ and our Rose both met death and conquered it.
As the rose gives forth its vital power and peculiar essence at its death, it becomes to us a symbol of rebirth because that essence is contained in its seed. Rebirth or reincarnation is ever going on before our eyes if we will but look for the evidence all around us.
Some questions with brief answers to ponder on….
1. Who is found perfect before the Gods?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul in vanity nor sworn deceitfully. Ancient as the hills. The same requirement contained in the Egyptian rituals.
2. What are the Elements of the Body and how are they perfected through suffering or glorified through trial?
The individual is standing before the judges in the Hall of the Two Truths, in Amenti. His “elements” are his Seed Atoms and Ego for those are all that are imperishable. Developed by experience; glorified by resistance and overcoming.
3. What is the Secret of the Dying Rose?
That the Crown is revealed only after Self Sacrifice; that Death is the liberator of True Beauty of Soul; that the fragrance of the Spirit is released only in the process of Dying. Attar of Roses. Odors of Death.
4. How is the secret like the repressed sigh of our suffering? What is the repressed sigh?
Our unfulfilled ambitions, aspirations, desires, that have been crystallized by our individual complexes. Examples.
5. What is the Flame Red Fire?
The color of the Rose, which expresses the basic factor in the spectrum of solar light, showing our status at the negative pole of Creation. Man did not become man until the red blood was developed. Red is the color of Mars – energy – iron, and it is due only to the iron in our blood and tissue that develop stamina ethically and strength physically. It is the basic Principle of Will.
6. How is the Cup of Wine (the Chalice) the “Outpouring of the Blood of our Heart” and how is it Sacrificed unto Regeneration and the Newer Life?
When we join with the Celebrant at Mass, by uniting with him mentally, we project into the Elements he is magnetizing, the ESSENCE of ourselves, the True Aura of the Blood of our heart. We are really sacrificing this energy unto Regeneration and the Newer Life for that is exactly what we are seeking in this Ceremony.
7. How are the Bread and Salt of the Elements the Foundations of our Body?
In Bread is the Yeast cells that are evolved types of the protoplasm that constitutes our physical structure and Salt is the simple Sodium, the various forms of which, with other salts, compose our chemical structure. They unite the chemical and biological phases of our existence. They are true Foundations.
8. Why then should we destroy them?
We destroy only the Form, in order that the substance may be recomposed into new forms, for the renewal or reincarnation of Egos who are entitled to it. It is our return of Cosmic Root Substance loaned to us temporarily.
9. Who is Osiris Triumphant – Osiris Onnophris, the Justified?
The liberated Ego, that has accomplished its Purgatorial Career.
10. Who is it, that is clothed with the Body of Flesh, yet has within him the Spirit of the Eternal Gods? Who are or were the Eternal Gods?
The Ego, ready for return to mortal incarnation. He has taken on the Astral and Etheric vehicles and stands on the Threshold. He is clothed with the Body of Flesh. His Spirit is the Ancient of Days, the Emanation from the Divine. It is also the recurrence of what it has been in former incarnations from the primeval days when Man, as Spirit, was known as the Sons of God who took unto themselves Daughters of Men or united the spiritual and the material elements into one unified fabric.
11. What is the meaning of, – “I am the Lord of Life”, etc.?
The newly incarnating Ego, standing on the Threshold of Rebirth, knows himself at that time to be truly a Lord of Life, because he has passed through Death, he knows himself to be alive, knows that he is about to re-enter mortal expression; that he can go through with it, die again and yet live so he exclaims – “Triumphant over Death. He who partaketh with me, (shares my experience) shall arise with me” in the evolutionary scale.
12. Who or what is a “Manifestor in Matter?”
One who, while liberated, knows that he can voluntarily re-enter Matter for Manifestation, yet be free from it at will, knowing that his real life – his consciousness – is always in the Invisible. This applies to those who have completed their involuntary incarnations. Such are purified and they do stand upon the Universe, for to them, the Universe is their home.
13. Who is the Reconciler? How does He function?
He is a Reconciler who understands Humanity’s mission of mediumship; its instrumentality through which the Divine can become human and the Human becomes Divine. This is the Supreme Goal, but it is a goal of consciousness that cannot be properly described in words. It must be experienced. Such Initiates, are they who really do bring Matter to its highest perfection. Without them, the Universe is not, for the universe has come into existence only by and through their existence. It came into existence because it was necessary as a temporary environment for them.