Rosicrucian Writings Online
"The Dweller on the Threshold"BE PREPARED TO MEET THIS SYMBOLICAL CHARACTER
By The Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest December 1933]
THROUGHOUT the ancient Rosicrucian records and writings of a ritualistic and ceremonial nature there is frequent reference to "The Dweller On the Threshold." In fact, this term or phrase is so distinctively Rosicrucian, and so esoterically significant that it is often used as a means of identifying anything of a ritualistic or ceremonial nature, or any mystical principle, that is distinctly Rosicrucian. It is a companion phrase to the other well known Rosicrucian expression, "Crossing the Threshold." Rosicrucians of the last century in some lands would often identify each other by casually speaking of the Threshold in any philosophical, religious, or mystical discussion that was taking place, and immediately those who were Rosicrucians would show by an expression on their faces that they recognized the word, and then one or the other would ask whether they had ever "met the Dweller on the Threshold," or whether they had ever "crossed the Threshold," etc.
These phrases have become so popular that they are no longer secret ones, and I am not violating any of the secrets of the higher Temple Initiations of the Rosicrucian Order by stating that on the occasion of such initiations the Neophyte who is to be accepted into the Temple has to cross the Threshold and has to meet the "Dweller on the Threshold." However, all of the Rosicrucian references to the Dweller on the Threshold are not references to the
Recently I prepared an article for this magazine dealing with the subject of the Coming of the Shadows and of the Obscure Night. Any member of our organization who has not carefully read that article dealing with the shadows should read it in conjunction with this present article. By referring to the October issue of the Digest our members will find the article.*
In order to understand the esoteric principles involved in crossing the Threshold, and meeting the character that dwells thereon, we should realize, first of all, that there are a multiplicity of Thresholds in our lives, and that some of these, or a majority of them, are of the material world, while a portion of them--and perhaps the most important ones--are Cosmic, or psychic, or spiritual, however you may wish to name them. In other words, throughout the life of every mystic who has started on the path of unfoldment and illumination there are daily and almost hourly incidents that bring his feet to a threshold of some kind, and almost daily, and often frequently during each of the days of the week, such a student comes face to face with the Dweller on the Threshold.
These Thresholds are crucial periods in the life of every student and adept, and we may as well be frank and not conceal the fact that even the most advanced and most highly evolved of mystics suddenly find themselves on the very edge of a threshold, and very often face to face with the "Dweller on the Threshold" when it is least expected. In other words, the attainment of greater knowledge and greater unfoldment, and the advancement along the path to the highest grades of understanding and psychic power, do not prevent those sudden crucial conditions which constitute genuine Thresholds even to the most illuminated. It is true that the more advanced the student is, and the more carefully he has arranged his life and directed his affairs, the less often he finds himself at the Threshold, and the more he is developed and strengthened for Cosmic and psychic powers, the more easily he crosses the Threshold, or avoids it and escapes from the unpleasant effects resulting from any conflict with the "Dweller on the Threshold."
By this it will be seen that both the new student or Neophyte, and the advancing adept, must guard himself against errors of judgment, errors of thoughts and acts, when on the very edge of the Threshold, or when face to face with the "Dweller on the Threshold." The adept, however, has the advantage of having been well-trained, and well-prepared for this condition, while the Neophyte does not always understand what he should do, and therefore is less qualified to avoid the errors. It is for the benefit of both the Neophyte and the adept that I wish to speak of these matters, and sound a very timely warning because of the approaching Cosmic changes throughout the world during the next twelve months. The great changes that are about to take place, and which will take place, will bring more of the Neophytes and adepts face to face with the Threshold and the Dweller thereon than at any other time in recent years, and it is our duty to prepare our members and even to help those who are not members but who are seekers for the path to understand some of the principles involved.
I have just said that the Threshold is ever near, and of many forms and conditions. Hundreds of times in the course of a year the average student on the path and seeker for Light finds himself face to face with the open doorway. Conditions around him, personal problems and trials, and often the voice of the Tempter, urge him to step across the Threshold into the open passageway, and to enter the chamber that lies on the other side of the Threshold. Often, also, the still small voice within warns him not to cross the Threshold, but to hesitate, to listen to the voice within or the Cosmic urge through intuition, and to retrace his steps and go back from the Threshold. The moment anyone crosses such a Threshold, however, Karmic conditions are immediately created either for good or evil, and the price must be paid, compensation must be made, for stepping across the Threshold and entering the strange chamber.
It is here that the individual comes face to face with the "Dweller on the Threshold." I prefer the phrase "Dweller at the Threshold," for the Dweller is not always on the Threshold, but often just within the mysterious chamber and can be seen or sensed as one stands upon the very Threshold ready to enter the chamber.
In our mystical ceremonies the Neophyte who crosses the symbolical Threshold of initiation is warned by the symbolical character that dwells at the Threshold (as a representative of the still small voice within) to "choose ye your way to Light or Darkness!" The chamber itself is always dark, and the person who has entered it finds himself in a quandary, for he knows that his next few steps will be important ones, and that as he stands at the Threshold and chooses he will either step into Darkness and create evil Karma for himself, or step into Light and create fortunate Karma.
Whenever any of us are face to face with some personal problem, and we allow ourselves to pause in hesitancy trying to decide whether we should do that which something outside of ourselves tempts us to do, or do that which something within us tempts us to do, we are at that time face to face with the Threshold. It is during this pause of hesitancy that the individual must choose whether to go on his way into Darkness or into Light, and the "Dweller on the Threshold" is there for the purpose of testing and trying us. One moment he tempts us to listen to the voice of Light. He appeals to us to listen to the fascinating and tempting words of deceit and deception, and then urges us to listen to the beautiful golden words of truth. We, alone, standing there in hesitancy, must decide whether truth or untruth, Light or Darkness, shall have the victory.
All through our lives we come face to face with this trying situation at the Threshold. We may be in need of worldly things when suddenly an opportunity comes to us whereby we may have the things we seek. We pause to reason and to analyze, and in so doing we step up to the Threshold and wait. While we are waiting and trying to reason what we should do, the voice of the Dweller urges us to remember our moral obligations, our ethics, our code in life, our high principles, and our promise. Then the Dweller tempts us with a beautiful picture of the happiness that will come through casting aside our ethics and our morals, by ignoring for the time being our avowed principles and purposes. He tries to make us believe that on this one occasion and in this one circumstance we may evade and avoid our obligations, that we may cover up our error, and may indulge in the deception and still be happy. The Dweller presents both sides to us with equal interest and fascination. The decision lies with us, and as we choose we create our Karma for the future.
We read a letter or read a book or hear a statement made that casts some doubt upon the goodness of our studies, of our principles, of our high ethics, or of our ability to attain the better things of life. As we listen to these arguments or read them, we suddenly find ourselves standing on the Threshold again with a great mysterious chamber of darkness before us in which dwells the truth or falsity of the things that we have just heard or read. We feel that we must cross this Threshold and go into the chamber and find the truth. The Dweller at the Threshold observes our hesitancy and he urges us to cross the Threshold, enter his domain and listen to his dual arguments. Once we have made the decision the victory is either for Light or Darkness, happiness or sorrow.
The mystic on the path, young or old, is tempted frequently by those things that bring him to the Threshold and leave him in a serious quandary--perplexed, puzzled, and sorely in need of advice. The more developed is his consciousness and his attunement, the more subtle are the Thresholds which he approaches, and the more difficult it is for him to decide, but always he is left alone to decide for himself, and always must he be the creator of his own career, the builder of his own life, and the maker of his own Karma.
Those who dwell for any length of time in this great chamber of darkness without coming to a decision, or who come to the wrong decision, are surrounded by the obscurity of the night, and the closing-in of the shadows. This may last for days and weeks, and during that time the individual is in mental and spiritual misery, and his mind is filled with doubt and skepticism, with suspicion, and even with envy and hatred. It is a rejoiceful period for the forces of evil, and a sad period for the kingdom of the Light.
To be prepared, the young Neophyte and the advanced adept alike must be forewarned of the fact that there are such Thresholds and such Dwellers thereon, and therefore be ever mindful of his powers to reason and think and of his greater ability to listen to the still small voice within and to determine which is the spirit of truth speaking and which is the spirit of the world and of materialism and of deceit and darkness. It is seldom, indeed, that even the Neophyte, let alone the adept on the path, is unable to determine which voice is speaking to him at the Threshold. Very often to ease his conscience he will pretend even to himself that he thought that the glowing, fascinating temptations of the material world were possibly the whisperings of the still small voice and that he believed he was doing right or deciding correctly. But he seldom really deceives himself and, of course, he never deceives the Cosmic and the Karmic law works whether one is self-deceived or not.
It is notable also that each and every trial at these thresholds are important crises in the life of one on the Path. There is more to and back of each one of these events than is just associated with the incidents of the event. In other words, whenever a decision is made one way or the other at the threshold there is more involved than merely the results pertaining to the matter that was being analyzed. Each time that the decision is wrongly made there is not only the creation of Karmic debts that must be paid but there is a weakening of the morals and of the integrity, the power, and the development of the inner and outer selves. And vice versa. Whenever the decision is proper and in accordance with the spirit of truth it is not only a victory for the individual in his material or other affairs associated with the problem, but it is a moral victory for the power and development of the inner self and leads to a notable advancement along the Path. Each such victory is like a stepping stone that lifts the individual to a higher plane and gives him richer spiritual reward than he may ever anticipate.
The individual who allows himself to be tempted by the Dweller on the Threshold to yield to the worldly things or to break his promises, violate his obligations, set aside his moral and ethical code, or nullify his ideals for the time, steps down lower and lower in his development and inner progress until after a number of such sad experiences the inner self is stifled, the still small voice is muffled, the master within is imprisoned and the spiritual psychic self is made to retrograde. Such persons become, in a Cosmic sense, lost souls. They must be redeemed and saved by the esoteric process of regeneration. If they go out of this life without having become completely regenerated their next incarnation is a lower state of worldly, moral, mental, and physical conditions, and they find themselves surrounded by obstacles and by every deterring factor and must battle their way through great hardships to lift themselves to even the next plane of development.
On the other hand, those who constantly are victorious and win their battles at the threshold achieve more power and more Cosmic assistance in their development and become the great masters and adepts in this life and when the time for transition comes they find themselves properly prepared for the next incarnation which begins with blessings, with advantages and qualities that enable them to occupy a happier and more successful position in life. We should not be surprised, therefore, to find that the symbolical crossing of the threshold is an important feature of all Rosicrucian temple initiations, for the initiation into the Order is truly the choosing of a way out of darkness into Light and is the culminating act of a decision that is for the better and is a moral, ethical, and psychic victory for the individual. For this reason the Threshold and the "Dweller on the Threshold" are significant words and terms among Rosicrucians.
* Webmaster's Note: The article mentioned is entitled "When the Shadows Come" and may be perused here.
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