THE Soul, in its first beginning, is not something added to the body, but is generated in the body by the polarisation of the astral elements. Once generated, it enters and passes through many bodies, until finally perfected.
As there are two of the outer, so also of the inner. The two of the inner are spirit and soul. In the translation of the Scriptures the word spirit is often used where soul is meant. For only the man created in God's own image is a living soul, that is, a soul which has the Spirit superadded to it. 3
The clearest understanding may be obtained of the soul by defining it as the divine idea. Before anything can exist outwardly and materially, the idea of it must subsist in the Divine
Mind. The soul, therefore, may be understood to be divine and everlasting in its nature. But the soul does not act directly upon matter. It is put forth by the Divine Mind; but the body is put forth by the sideral or fiery body. As the spirit on the celestial plane is the parent of the soul, so the fire on the material plane begets the body.
The soul, being in its nature eternal, passes from one form to another until, in its highest stage, it polarises sufficiently to receive the spirit. It is in all organised things. Nothing of an organic nature exists without a soul. It is the individual, and it perishes if abandoned of the spirit.
As already said, at the moment when the soul appears in any hitherto inorganic entity, it is by means of the convergence of the magnetic poles of the constituent molecules of that entity. The focusing of these poles gives rise to a circular magnetic current, and an electric combustion is the result. This vital spark is organic life, or the soul. This spontaneous combustion, or generation, is not a new creation; for nothing can be either added to or withdrawn from the universe. It is but a new condition of the one substance. The soul is to the material organ what the tune is to the musical instrument. The tune subsists in the mind of the composer (God), before the keys or strings of the instrument can give it expression. But unless for this expression it could not become manifest to sense. This tune can be played on many instruments, and transferred from one to another. We are thus brought to the great facts, the immortality of the soul, its transmigrations, and the metempsychosis.
The process of incarnation, and the method by which the soul takes new forms, are in this wise. When two persons ally themselves in the flesh and beget a child, the moment of impregnation is usually--though not invariably--the moment which attaches a soul to the newly conceived body. Hence, much depends upon the influences, astral and magnetic, under which impregnation and conception take place. The pregnant woman is the centre of a whirl of magnetic forces, and she attracts within her sphere a soul whose previous conduct and odic condition correspond either to her own or to the magnetic influences under which she conceives. This soul, if the pregnancy continues and progresses, remains attached to her sphere, but does not enter the embryo until the time of quickening, when it usually takes possession of the body, and continues to inhabit it until the time of delivery. A pregnant woman is swayed not by her own will alone, but as
often by the will of the soul newly attached to her sphere; and the opposition and cross-magnetisms of these two wills often occasion many strange and seemingly unaccountable whims, alternations of character, and longings, on the part of the woman. Sometimes, however, the moment of impregnation or conception passes without attracting any soul, and the woman may even carry a false conception for some time, in which cases abortion occurs. There are innumerable accidents which may happen in this regard. Or, the soul, which has been attracted to her, may, under new influences, be withdrawn from her sphere, and from the embryo which, having quickened, may consume away; or, the soul originally drawn to her orbit may be replaced later by another, and so forth. Some clairvoyant women have been conscious of the soul attached to them, and have seen it, at times as a beautiful infant, at times in other shapes. Children begotten by ardent and mutual love are usually the best and healthiest, spiritually and physically, because the radical moment is seized by love, when the astral and magnetic influences are strongest and most ardent, and they attract the strongest and noblest souls.
For you to understand yet more clearly and fully the origin and nature of the soul, whence it comes, and how it passes from one body to another, you must know that the plane on which the celestials and the creatures touch each other is the astral plane. The substance of all created things is the begetter alike of body and soul. The soul, as I have said, is formed by polarisation of the elements of the astral body, and it is a gradual process; but when once formed it is art entity capable of passing from one body to another. Imagine the magnetic forces of innumerable elements directed and focused to one centre, and streams of electric power passing along all their convergent poles to that centre. Imagine these streams so focused as to create a fire in that central part,--a kind of crystallisation of magnetic force. This is the soul. This is the sacred fire of Hestia or Vesta, which burns continually. The body and person may fall away and disappear: but the soul, once begotten, is immortal until its perverse will extinguish it. For the fire of the soul, or central hearth, must be kept alive by the higher air or Divine Breath, if it is to endure for ever. It must converge, not diverge. If it diverge it will be dissipated. The end of progress is unity; the end of degradation is division. The soul, therefore, which ascends, tends more and more to union with the Divine.
And this is the manner thereof. Conceive of God as of a vast
spiritual body constituted of many individual elements, but all these elements as having one will, and therefore being one. This condition of oneness with the Divine Will and Being constitutes the celestial Nirvâna. Again, conceive of the degraded soul as dividing more and more until at length it is scattered into many, and ceases to be as an individual, being, as. it were, split and broken up, and dispersed into many pieces. This is the Nirvâna of the Amen, or annihilation of the individual. 1
"And whence," you inquire," is the supply of new souls for the continual increase of the world's population?" Souls, as you know, work up from animals and plants; for it is in the lowest forms of organic life that the soul is first engendered. Formerly the way of escape for human souls was more open and the path clearer, because, although ignorance of intellectual things abounded among the poorer sort, yet the knowledge of divine things and the light of faith were stronger and purer. Wherefore the souls of those ages of the world, not being enchained to earth as they now are, were enabled to pass more quickly through their avatârs, and but few incarnations sufficed where now many are necessary.
For in these days the ignorance of the mind is weighted by materialism instead of being lightened by faith. It is sunk to earth by love of the body and by atheism, and excessive care for the things of sense. And being crushed thereby, it lingers long in the atmosphere of earth, seeking many fresh lodgments, and so multiplies bodies.
And, furthermore, you must not conceive of Creation, or the putting-forth of things, as an act once accomplished and then ended. For the celestial Olympus, is continually creating and continually becoming. God never ceases giving of God for God's creatures. This also is the mystery of the divine incarnation and oblation. The celestial substance is continually individualising itself that it may build itself up into one perfect individual. Thus is the circle of life accomplished, and thus its ends meet the one with the other.
You have asked me--"How, if the planet consist of body, perisoul, soul, and spirit, can there be born of it entities which are not like it fourfold, but threefold or even twofold, as are minerals and severed parts of bodies, things made by art, and the like." I answer you that your error lies in looking on the planet as a thing apart from its offspring. Certainly, the planet is fourfold, and
certainly also its offspring is fourfold. But of its offspring some lie in the astral region only, and are but twofold; and some in the watery region, and are but threefold, and some lie in the human region, and are fourfold. The body and perisoul are the metallic and gaseous envelope of the planet. The organic region composes its soul, and the human region its spirit, or divine part. For when it was but metallic, it had no soul. When it was but organic, it had no spirit. But when man was made in the image of God, then was its spirit breathed into its soul. Now, the metals have no soul; therefore they are not individuals. And not being individuals, they cannot transmigrate. But the plants and animals have souls. They are individuals, and do transmigrate and progress. And man has also a spirit; and so long as he is man--that is, truly human--he cannot re-descend into the body of an animal, or of any creature in the sphere beneath him, since that would be an indignity to the spirit. But if he lose his spirit, and become again animal, he may descend, yea, he may become altogether gross and horrible, and a creeping and detestable thing, begotten of filth and corruption. This is the end of persistently evil men. For God is not the God of creeping things, but Baal Zebub 1 is their God. And there were none of these in the Age of Gold: neither shall there be any when the earth is fully purged. O Men! your exceeding wickedness is the creator of your evil beasts; yea, your filthy torments are your own sons and abominable progenitors!
Remember that there is but one substance. Body, sideral body, soul, and spirit, all these are one in their essence. And the first three are differentialities of polarisation. The fourth is God's Self. When the Gods put forth the world, they put forth substance with its three potentialities, but all three in the condition of odic light. I have called the substantial light sometimes the sideral body, sometimes the perisoul; and this because it is both. For it is that which makes, that which becomes. It is fire, or the human spirit (not the divine), out of which and by which earth and water are generated. It is the fiery manifestation of soul, the magnetic factor of the body. It is space; it is substance; it is foundation. So that from it proceed the gases and the minerals, which are soulless, and also the organic world, which hath a soul. But man it could not make. For man is fourfold and of the divine ether or upper air, which is the province of Zeus, Father of Gods and men.
The outer envelope of the macrocosm and microcosm alike, which is represented by Demeter, is in reality not elemental at all, but is a compound of the other three elements. Her fertility is due to the "water," and her transmuting or chemical power to the fire. This water is the soul or protoplasma, which is put forth by Deity and constitutes the individual. Nor are you to look on fire as a true element. For fire is to the body what spirit is to the soul. As the soul is without the divine life until vivified by the spirit, so the body, or matter, is without physical life in the absence of fire. No matter is really "dead matter," for the fire-element is in all matter. But matter would be "dead" (that is, would cease to exist as matter) if motion were suspended--which is, if there were no fire. For, as wherever there is motion there is heat, and consequently fire, and motion is the condition of matter, so without fire would be no matter.
The soul is not astral fluid, but is manifest by means of the astral fluid; for the soul itself is, like the idea, invisible and intangible. You will see the meaning best by following out the genesis of any particular action. The stroke of the pen on paper is the phenomenon; that is the outer body. The action which produces the stroke is the astral body, and, though physical, is not a thing, but a transition or medium between the result (the stroke) and its cause (the idea). The idea manifested in the act is not physical, but mental, and is the soul of the act. But even this is not the first cause. For the idea is put forth by the will, and this is the spirit. Thus, you will an idea as God wills the macrocosm. The real body (or immediate result) is the astral body; while the phenomenal body (or ultimate form) is the effect of motion and heat. If you could arrest motion, you would have as the result fire, and thereby would convert Demeter into Hephaistos. But fire itself also is material, since it is visible to the outer sense, as is the earth-body. But it has many degrees of subtlety. The astral or odic substance, therefore, is not the soul itself, but is the medium or manifestor of the soul, as the act is of the idea. If, however, the phrase misleads you, it is better to modify it, as thus:--
The act is the condition of the idea, in the same way as fire or incandescence is the condition of any given object. Light is of spirit, heat is of matter. Water is the result of the operation of Wisdom the Mother, or oxygen, and justice the Father, or hydrogen. Air is the result of the mixture, not combination, of wisdom and force. Those two are properly elements. They
are soul and spirit. But Earth is not, properly speaking, an element at all. She is the result of the water and the fire, and her rocks and strata are either watery or igneous. She is water and air fused and crystallised. Fire also, the real maker of the body, is a mode and condition, and not a true element. See, then, that the only real and true and permanent elements are air and water, spirit and soul, will and idea, divine and substantial, father and mother; and out of these all the elements of earth are made by the aid of the condition of matter, which is, interchangeably, beat and motion.
Wisdom, justice, and Force, or oxygen, hydrogen, and azoth, are the three out of which the two true elements are produced. But water is a combination, air is a mixture. Wherefore the only two real entities, water and air, are unreal to the phenomenal; while the untrue elements, earth and fire, or body and electric fluid, are real in the phenomenal.
Souls are re-incarnated hundreds and thousands of times, but not the person (which implies the body), for the body perishes. These things were known to the Gnostics, Therapeutæ, Essenes, and to Jesus; and the doctrine is embodied in the parable of the Talents, as thus explained:--Into the soul of the individual is breathed the Spirit of God, divine, pure, and without blemish. It is God. And the individual has, in his earth-life, to nourish that Spirit, and feed it as a flame with oil. When you put oil into a lamp, the. essence passes into and becomes flame. So is it with the soul of him who nourishes the Spirit. It grows gradually pure, and becomes the Spirit. By this means the Spirit becomes the richer. And, as in the parable of the Talents, where God has given five talents, man pays back ten; or he returns nothing, and perishes.
When a soul has once become regenerate, it returns to the body only by its own free will, and as a Redeemer or Messenger. Such a one regains in the flesh the memory of his past. Regeneration or transmutation may take place in an instant; but it is rarely a sudden thing, and it is best that it come gradually, so that the "Marriage" of the Spirit be only after a prolonged engagement.
The doctrine of "Counterparts," so familiar to certain classes of "Spiritualists," is a travesty, due to delusive spirits, of the "Marriage of Regeneration."
Regeneration does not affect the interior man only. A regenerate person may have his body such that no wounds will cause death.
When a person dies, a portion of the soul remains unconsumed,--untransmuted, that is, into spirit. The soul is fluid, and between it and vapour is this analogy. When there is a large quantity of vapour in a small space it becomes condensed, and is thick and gross. But when a portion is removed, the rest becomes refined, and is rarer and purer. So it is with the soul. By the transmutation of a portion of its material the rest becomes finer, rarer, and purer, and continues to do so more and more until--after many incarnations, made good use of--the whole of the soul is absorbed into the Divine Spirit, and becomes one with God, making God so much the richer for the usury. This is the celestial Nirvâna. 1 But, though becoming pure Spirit, or God, the individual retains his individuality; so that instead of all being merged in the One, the One becomes Many. Thus has God become millions. We, too, are legion, and therein resemble God. God is multitudes and nations, and kingdoms, and tongues. And the sound of God is as the sound of many waters.
27:2 London. Spoken in trance at different times in 1880 and 1881. Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, pp. 394, 413-414, 421-423. S. H. H.
27:3 Spirit, being the substance of all things, is in all things, but does not become the Spirit until, from being diffuse and abstract, it becomes, by Polarisation, concentrate and formulate,--from heat becoming flame. E. M.
30:1 See Appendix, note A.
31:1 Impurity, or the active principle in putrefaction and corruption. E. M.
34:1 See Appendix, note A.