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Brother of the Third Degree, by Will L. Garver, [1894], at

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Everything else being equal, the more thought a man bas given any subject the more apt is he to be right thereon. But far more important than thought itself is an honest desire to know the truth, free from bias and without preference. The man who seeks for truth with a selfish motive will never find it, for his desires will pervert his judgment and befog his reason. Truth is pure and undefiled, and none but the pure in heart and mind can see it in all its beauty. The greatest cause of error in the world is that prejudice which distorts facts to make them fit with preconceived opinions, and prejudice has its root in self. Remembering my motto—"Forget self,"— I had instantly chosen the path which seemed to bring more arduous labor. Trusting to the love of truth and right within me, I had chosen with hardly a second thought. Had I chosen right? St. Germain soon dispelled my doubt by saying:

"Brother, you and your noble sister are most

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truly one; you have chosen the path on which your sister now precedes you, and without delay you shall join her. Two souls like yours should work together until the end. But before we send you forth, we will help you to unlock the mighty powers within your soul. These powers, so long withheld, can be but faintly realized by what I now tell you. Power will be given thee to surround thyself with an impenetrable shield, to become invisible even though present, to project your conscious astral to a distance, to transmute metals, to read the past and the future so far as determined; to read the hearts and minds of men, to influence their thoughts unknown, to control the elements, to cast out demons, to heal the sick by power of will, to mould into visible forms the astral substance, and to master all the powers of nature by the God-power in yourself. I say these powers will be given to you; but, more correctly, you give them to yourself, for you even now possess them though you know it not, otherwise you never could for nothing can be added to man from without, all comes from within. Before I give you the secret which enables you to unlock yourself, I must be convinced beyond all shadow of doubt that you never will use them for selfish ends, even though to save your life or those you love. Of your unselfishness I am now convinced, not only by your soul as visible to the spiritual

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sight, but from your life for seven years. But one duty you have yet to perform before I can give you the sacred word; your body must receive a complete and final purification, and that necessitates your return to it in the West.

"Iole will return here and wait for your life-term to terminate, which is not long."

"And has every man a fixed time for his bodily dissolution?" I asked.

"Every organism has a time fixed for its dissolution," he replied, "but as man changes his organism, so also does he change the time for its death. The astrological conditions which meant death to your constitutional combination previous to the time when modified by your will, have no power over your organism as it now is. During life you have, by the power of will, so modified your form that its dissolution comes under different planetary aspects. Esoteric astrology does not preclude free-will or the power of man to modify his nature."

"Then destiny is a variable quantity?" I asked.

"Every conscious act of will brings a modification in your so-called destiny; but only a few men consciously will, most following blindly the impulses or tendencies of their nature. Therefore, most men's lives are fixed and subject to only slight variations. But there are exceptions, and

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if you take a man of powerful mind and will it is difficult to cast his horoscope; for he can in a few short hours modify his course in life, and his predominant quality to-day may be replaced by another to-morrow."

"And you say my life-term is short?" I asked.

"Your bodily combination of early life would not have come under death-dealing influences until it had reached its sixtieth year, but your body, as it now is, will meet the influences which mean its dissolution in four years. It so happens that it will then be at the mystic age of thirty-three. You have shortened your earth life, but you will enter that much sooner into the higher life."

"Only four years to labor, yet, oh! so much to do!" I exclaimed, as an all-encompassing love welled up in my heart.

A loving smile lit up the face of St. Germain, and he said: "It will then be permitted you to labor as an invisible or be reborn; now turn thy mind within."

As he uttered this command a heavenly rapture filled my soul, it seeming to expand until all beings and creatures were included in its wondrous love, and an unutterable peace took possession of me. Looking at St. Germain I saw that his face was radiant with light, and his features seemed angelic in their beauty as he gave the command—"Return!"

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In obedience to his command, I threw my consciousness within, a numbness came over my body, and an outward suction commenced in my left side; then there was a moment's blank, from which I awoke to find myself looking at Iole's body, now in deep trance in a chair before me. Wondering what I was I tried to see my form, but my mind and consciousness seemed to be in nothing but a nucleus of substance. As I longed to see, I again took form, the transparent Bather obeying my desire. St. Germain had evidently gone through like transformations, for he floated in like form beside me. "Come!" he said in mental speech, and again with the rapidity of thought we passed through space. Through clouds of floating substance of many hues and colors, which scintillated with life and seemed to be in one continuous transformation, we flew. I had no breath or sense of weight, and my transparent form seemed carried by my will. Suddenly I was drawn down as by a suction, and the next instant was beside a bed on which lay my sleeping form; and beside me, in body like my own, stood or floated my sister Iole.

"Hast thou returned?" she asked in thought, for no words were spoken.

"Yes, sister, go thou with the Master to the East; when my life-term is up we will meet again."

Thus speaking I saw that a thread of violet light

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formed a circuit through our bodies and that of St. Germain. It formed a loop and passed from Iole to me through my sleeping body, and then two strands reached from St. Germain's transparent form and mine to a misty cloud behind us. A current of life was throbbing through this slender wire from Iole to my sleeping form; but as I spoke the current changed, and I was drawn toward my form and sank into unconsciousness.

When I awoke I was in a little cottage in New Orleans, once more embodied Alphonso Colono; but an awful change had taken place. I was not then conscious of the experiences just written, they have since been recalled. My mind was almost a blank, a horrid blackness was around me. I had a faint recollection of lost knowledge, but in vain I pressed my head in effort to recall it; all was gone! Had my brain been shattered? Had I lost my mind? My God! What did it mean? Who was I? Iole! who was Iole? Masters! who were Masters? Ha! ha! am I crazy? I! who am I? There is no I. Ha! ha! I is nothing but a delusion produced in the brain by motions in its molecules. Mind! mind! there is no mind! what foolish men call mind is but a secretion from the brain. Soul! soul! there is no soul! it is a superstition for which we have no proof. Who ever saw a soul? What is it like? Has it shape or form? Is it a body? Ha! ha! who ever saw anything without

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a body? Thus I raved. My God! where did these thoughts come from? Strangely unlike myself I arose and dressed. Feeling like some one I did not know, I walked to the mirror. "My God! My God I" I cried, "what demon is it!" The face of Alphonso Colono, but strangely distorted and evil. I turned away; I was abnormally sensitive, and everything I touched appeared to move. My ears thumped and I could hear constant rap-pings through the room; cold currents touched my face and slimy hands grasped me. In trembling terror I strove to drive them away, but all of no avail. I put on my hat and left the room, but the horrible sensations followed me. Along the street I hurried, hardly knowing what I was doing and ignorant of where I was going. As I passed by people stopped and in horror shrank back; while now, to add to my torments, a demoniacal voice laughed in my ears, ha! ha! ha! ha! they are afraid of me! Seeking relief and finding none, I returned to my room. All day long I paced restlessly back and forth before the mirror, dimly conscious that I was something, yet lost to myself. The evening grew apace and night came on; it was a dark and sultry night, and the oppressive stillness around only made the rappings and invisible voices more awful. As though seized by an insane idea, and despite the oppressive heat, I built a blazing fire upon the hearth, and sitting down before

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it gazed into its red flames. As I did so the licking flames grew higher, and leaping up seemed to lean forward toward me; then I became as though entranced and lost the power of motion. At the same moment the horrible creature I had seen at the Durant mansion formed in the flames before me; but this time instead of repelling, it seemed to fascinate, and as I leaned forward I recognized its evil and malignant features as my own. It smiled hideously, and continuing to look, it became attractive. As I did not repel, it came toward me; but now, my God! what is it? It shapes into a living skeleton, and its bony form, covered with dry and wrinkled flesh, shone with a greasy gloss of reddish-green. It extended its bony hands to embrace me, I felt them on my neck and shoulders, I inhaled its sickening, poisonous breath; then, as its bony fingers clasped me around the neck as though to choke me, a faint ray of light dawned upon my mind, and I uttered the one word—"Iole!"

An awful, demoniacal shriek rang in my ears; a groan of despair, and the form was sucked back toward the fire. It struggled and pulled toward me, its fiery eyes looking from their sunken depths with a wild, satanic glare; but a white form now stood before me, and with outstretched hand pushed the monster into the flames. With one last wild shriek, it fell into the fire, and as though

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made of pitch was consumed by the lurid flames, At the same moment, as by an instantaneous change, my soul was filled with light, and looking up I beheld the radiant form of my glorious sister.

"Iole, my savior!" I cried.

"Only the Iole in thyself can be thy savior; only the Christ, Krishna, God or Master within can save thee," answered her mind to mine.

"Thou hast just now slain the last shadow of thy demon nature formed in lives gone by; and now thou art absolutely pure. All men must meet and slay their demon before they can pass on, for this demon shadow ever awaits them at the threshold, and unless they conquer they cannot pass through. When you called for me you called upon your God, for I am but a symbol of the God within your soul."

"With this, thy last experience, thou canst realize the condition of those men who are completely imbued in matter," interrupted another voice-mind, and St. Germain stood before us.

Before I could reply he continued:

"The great hierophant sends me to call thee to the East, and as I leave with thy sister, in peace retire to sleep; when the morning comes start on thy journey. Thy sister will meet thee at Calcutta and journey with thee through the forbidden passes to Teshee Lumbo."

"We leave you with our bodies, but we are with you in our souls," said Iole, and as she spoke a

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misty cloud enveloped them and I was left alone. No, not alone this time; the ecstasy of God was in my soul, the spirit filled my being. That night I slept the sleep of peace, and in the morning, with my heart as light as the spirit can make it, commenced my journey to the East. What joy I had en route! What peace and happiness I spread along my path! The soul illuminated with love spreads peace where’er it goes. When I reached Calcutta Iole met me robed as a Buddhist nun, her face being veiled to hide the radiant beauty of her features. We reached Darjeeling, and from there journeyed as pilgrims on to Lhassa, the secluded city from which all foreigners are debarred. Here St. Germain, the St. Germain of France, once more in body, met us to lead us across the unknown country to the sacred home. For many days we traveled, but without weariness or haste, and our journey was one continuous discourse on all that is grand and beautiful. The towering Himalayas and the bleak ranges to the north impressed us with feelings of sublimity, while the azure blue of heaven, filled with rainbow-colored clouds at day and the starry constellations at night, turned our minds and conversation to only the beautiful and good. At last we passed the guarded valley and reached the isolated monastery of "Him Who Knows." Far up the mountainside, reached only by a narrow path, this massive

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structure, built in cyclopean style, was beyond the reach of the despoiler's hand. All around were deep gorges and ranges of snow; but no sooner had I entered into the inner court than I knew that I had seen the place before. But where or when? Ah! I had seen it in my visions both in Mexico and France, as also in my astral voyage in the care of St. Germain. I thought of the initiations of father and mother, and as a question arose in my mind, as though she read it, Iole said:

"Your father and mother are members of the 'Third Degree' of Lhassa, and are now head teachers with King Eral in France. Your sister, Esmeralda, has gone with her brother Henrie to teach in Scandinavia. Your friend Garcia is a high teacher in California, and Dr. Rankel is Governor of Germany. Seg. Parodi is Governor of Italy, and Albarez makes the world his home."

"And Napoleon?" I asked.

"He lives for many years yet, until, by his now mighty genius, the republic makes all past ideals a fact."

"And may I now ask you of your parents?"

"That I will answer," interrupted St. Germain. "But for your sister you would not have passed beyond Lhassa in this life. Iole has made several incarnations in one life. When the Princess Louise of England died, before her body was marked for dissolution, she whom you know as Iole incarnated

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there. When she had served her purpose there, she discarded the former form of Princess Louise and took another, which she now has. She has given you her past history, but has by her powers ever veiled the present. It was through her that you were recalled when I sent you forth for four more years’ labor in the West, and as she is the adopted daughter of the Great Lama himself, she had a right to give the order, for she knew your past existences. When you, with the powers you now have, recall these prior lives, the reason of your present elevation will be made clear."

"Yes," I replied, "I see that far back I was a Brahmin monk of adept power, but for lack of certain experiences I took western incarnations." "All things are then made clear, are they?" said Iole.

"The past is now an open book," I answered; for all my lives were now linked into one. "Then we are ready for our great labor," she replied.

"And can I accomplish more here than in the West?" I asked.

"Much more," she answered, "for here we labor day and night; in the day-time in our material bodies, and at night, in that natural trance called sleep, we labor invisibly in our astrals among our brothers in the West. The superficial world thinks we have left them for selfish solitude,

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but we work through the world of mind and never stop for rest."

We now entered a cyclopean-like chamber of white granite, and were in the presence of the dark Oriental we had seen at Paris.

"Brother," he said, addressing me, "after many weary incarnations the wanderer has returned; gladly we welcome his now purified and illuminated soul. He has seen misery and suffering; he has seen and experienced pain and woe; now can his soul realize divine compassion and labor for mankind. Go with our sister Iole and learn to employ the powers it is now your privilege to use. Another crisis is approaching in the new Atlantis of the West, and as we never idle, you must be prepared. No, the question in your mind concerning your approaching disembodiment will not keep you from this labor. You have joined the immortals, and if your body is deemed fit for another life, when its hour of dissolution comes we will place it in a trance-like state in which life and its inimical influences cannot act; for life is death, and the vital activity disintegrates the body. That which in life works as a unit in all the atoms of the body, at death assumes an individual and separate activity in each. No, you will not die; both you and Iole shall have self-conscious astrals and live immortal in the world of mind and æther, until you choose to pass into the two degrees that lie still

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higher on. These two most superior degrees are too high for earthly minds to comprehend, and even you can but dimly realize. In the next degree there is no fixed form or body. Each being, in a flame of the universal Spirit, and with its creative power, can make a form to suit its wants or needs in any portion of the boundless universe. As a spirit spark, a centre without form, it can dart through the universe of space from star to star, and system to system, and there make a form or vehicle to suit its sphere. This form it can at will cast off, disperse, and then through space pass to another universe and build again. For these beings or spirits are in essence God-spirit, and possess all the powers therein. Of the First Degree, it is not permitted us to speak, all words degrade; the conception is too grand for any but the gods to realize. Now to your chamber with your sister; your initiation comes this evening."

As he finished, Iole led me from his presence.

"Brother," she said, when we were seated in our room, "the thought comes to my mind that our experiences would help many aspiring souls if they but knew them."

"True," I answered, "we hold the thought in common; can we not cloak the mysteries and reveal up to a certain limit?"

"Yes; tell to the world our lives, but conceal well the secret teachings. The great truths are open

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to all who seek the light and allow their minds to become illuminated by a pure, unselfish heart; but everything must come in its right order."

"Then I will veil the teachings, but so lightly that the seeker cannot but find; the ignorant we cannot reach; they will but laugh and scoff. Their ignorance we pity, but they must abide their time." *     *     *     *     *     *

That evening the initiation of my visions was reenacted, and I was principal. Clothed in a gauze of silken threads I was led before the throne. The God-man gave me the " magic kiss," and the slumbering Christ awoke to liberate the virgin from the tomb.

Awake! thou that sleepest,
Arise from thy tomb,
Descend from thy cross,
Ascend to thy throne.
Rend the veil of the Temple,
Stand out in the light,
Let the Holy of holies
No more be in night.
Join hands with the Masters,
The Great Brothers above,
Who labor forever
Through greatness of Love.
Man! know thy Redeemer,
He dwelleth within;
Buried deep in thy body,
Now gross from thy sin,
Is the only true Savior,
The Christ-spirit—within.

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Four years, or what men call years, went by; years of divine love and the ecstasy that comes from labor for mankind; years of celestial rapture in which the soul realizes that it is all and lacks nothing. It was in the "sacred chamber," and Iole and I were seated by each other in great pearl chairs beside an emerald table. The great hierophant with his council, St. Germain and the dark Oriental among them, sat around.

"Cross thy hands," said the great Master.

We obeyed, and with reclining forms crossed our hands upon our breasts.

"Now breathe together deeply," came the order. We obeyed, and at once became identified with each other and all in the chamber.

"Now turn thy mind within and place it upon the seat of Brahma."

And as the mind sank into the spirit's centre, a sacred mantra filled the room, and then the sacred word; then our soul, both now merged into one, became filled with celestial music made by the universe of spheres, and we entered the eternal.

Now did we realize that "there is no death;" with bodies cast aside we live immortal in the pearly essence capable of a higher form. We now overshadow all who seek the light, and in time will come again to assist you with our love.

Om, mani padme, hum!

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