(Private Collection C – Whare Ra – Item 442)
“What is the Order all about?” is a question which, in one form or another, is often asked by those who have but quite recently joined and who, having but little or no experience of Occultism, find themselves somewhat in a fog. At the outset it is well to state that a complete answer to such a question cannot be given to those whose feet are but newly set on the Path: but the following notes may be found to be of use by those who are “wondering what it is all about.”
“The Mysteries” in one form or another have existed from time immemorial: every great religion that the world has ever known has had its hidden or esoteric side for the few, as well as its outer or exoteric side for the multitude, and to this Christianity is no exception. “A Mystic,” then, is really one who has been initiated into the Mysteries; but in the present time the term is more often used in connection with the Christian Saints and the more profound writers, and it thus has more to do with the receptive rather than the active side of religion.
On the other hand “Occultism”, with which we are concerned, embraces the active side of this hidden life as well as the receptive side – the practice of certain definite methods to attain definite aims. Thus all true ceremonial is occult, whether it be used in a Church, in a Temple like ours or by a private individual. Ceremonial makes use of certain definite rites and symbols in order to produce a certain effect – and that is “occult.”
Magic,” in its true sense, is the power or knowledge, which brings into action a higher law, a law superseding the lower with which we are commonly familiar. The Eternal Law which rules all things remains unbroken, but in the ordinary course of events the higher manifestations are often hidden by our blindness or our ignorance – or both.
If we look back at the past two or three thousand years we find that mankind has now and again had a wave of desire to penetrate behind the veil which hides the Spiritual from the Material Life, and that this desire has been more or less satisfied by first one and then another religious revival: but we find also, if we look back with care at the subject, that throughout the ages there is a strand of Truth running through all these great world religions.
However different the presentment of Truth may seem at first sight, a fundamental basis of agreement will always be found. The Neophyte is counseled in the 0=0 Ritual to “hold all religions in reverence, for there is none but contains a Ray from the Ineffable Light that you are seeking.” We also find that every now and then a striking presentment of Truth takes place, and that the esoteric teaching of one age becomes the exoteric inheritance of the next. When the world is ready for it, knowledge is given. Modern science now knows many things that were once considered great mysteries – as occult and esoteric secrets. The theory of Evolution, to take one instance, formulated by science less than one-hundred years ago, was taught ages ago in the Secret Societies both in the East and in the West.
“Why,” it is sometimes asked, “should there be any Hidden Knowledge?” “Why not let all mankind share these secrets?” Do we allow our children to play with high explosives? In matters occult the great majority of mankind are but children, however high their attainments in other directions may be. Occult information can only be given to those who are called, to those who are ready for it. Occult formulas cannot be sown broadcast: they can only be used with safety after training, and then with accuracy and care. In a chemist’s shop are many bottles, some containing harmless and others very potent drugs. Great skill must be used in mixing them: and untrained dispenser would be capable of great harm. So it is in Occult work: words of power and symbols of Power which, if properly used, will be of great service, will, if ignorantly employed, be capable of great harm. Hence the necessity of training in the Outer Order. But apart from that, the secrecy required is a grand training in itself, it is a great test. For if a person cannot be trusted with a small secret he certainly cannot be trusted with great power. Then too the fact that one may not speak openly makes one think the more, tending to check the too hasty formulation of opinions. The time will come when our opinions are hardly enough to withstand the outer world; by then we shall have gained sufficient experience to judge when and whom it may be wise to speak of occult matters
It may be quite truthfully urged that there is nothing very occult in the First Knowledge Lecture which the Neophyte is given to learn, containing as it does of certain comparatively well known astronomical symbols and of the Hebrew Alphabet, items of not much apparent use. But when a child learns to read the A-B-C has to be first mastered: when music is first begun, there is a certain amount of drudgery to be gone through.
In each case there are rudiments to be mastered before the realisation of full benefits. So in the Outer Order members are taught the A-B-C of occult methods, and they are also tested as to whether they are fitted for initiation into the Inner or Second Order.
Before asking the question “What am I going to get me?” You will receive in direct proportion to the amount of yourself that you give. You have joined that you may be enabled to unfold your spiritual powers and your spiritual senses, not for selfish ends, but in order that you may use your increased power for the uplifting of humanity in whatever walk of life you may happen to be.
No two systems of philosophy agree because none contains a complete statement of Truth. But if you persevere, the Order will provide you, if with nothing else, with a satisfying system of philosophy, which will explain all the ever-increasing puzzles of existence. To the Order are drawn men and women of all points of view in the hope that they find therein the key to the mysteries, which puzzle and concern them most, and their hopes are not disappointed. But all will probably find something, which may be to a certain extent repugnant. It may be that they distrust or dislike secrecy, or ceremonial and ritual, or the apparently meaningless subjects of archaic study. But the very point, which is repugnant, shows the point not in harmony with the Brotherhood, and angle, which must necessarily be rubbed off before the Stone is fitted for the building of the Temple.
And here it may be stated clearly and definitely that the teaching of our Order recognises JESUS of Nazareth, not merely as a Master, however high, but also as the one physical Incarnation of DEITY, the Second Person, the Logos. And if you ask us to differentiate between the LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Only Begotten Son of God, and the Cosmic Christ, then I may say that the Cosmic Christ is the ideal to which all humanity strives, and will one day attain, the ADAM KADMON of the Kabalists. But JESUS CHRIST, Virgin-born and One-begotten, is the Crown and Synthesis of God-made-Man, the Redeemer who came to show us the Way, the Truth, and the Life.