Rosicrucian Writings Online
The Imperator's Monthly Message[By H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Mystic Triangle June 1929]
I HAVE been reading, recently, some of the mystical writings of Sir Francis Bacon, penned during the time of his Imperatorship of the Rosicrucian Order. Despite the fact that a few unproficient students of Rosicrucian history state that there is no remaining evidence revealing Bacon's activities with the Rosicrucians, I brought back from London two more rare volumes, to add to my Baconian selection in our library at Headquarters, dealing with the mystical side of Bacon's activities and proving conclusively that he was a high officer, chief executive, and enthusiastic sponsor of Rosicrucianism during his lifetime. In fact, many books dealing with this matter have been known to competent Rosicrucian historians for many years, and extracts from them have appeared in many Rosicrucian manuscripts.
In many of Bacon's mystical writings, we find he used one term that was probably highly significant to him, but perhaps little understood by later students because it had become obsolete and a new one substituted in its place. The Bacon term was "Soul of the World." It is quite evident that Bacon used it to signify the Cosmic Mind or Cosmic Consciousness in all mankind, and pervading all space.
I think that the term Bacon used is a beautiful one, and every time I think of it or read, in some of the old English Rosicrucian manuscripts, any reference to the "Soul of the World," I seem to slip into a very subtle form of psychic contact with Bacon and sense just the shade of meaning he had in mind when he evolved this term and decided upon its use.
Take, for instance, one passage of his writings penned about the year 1600, according to its place in his correspondence and other writings:
"Man in the beginning (I mean the substantial, inward man), both in and after his creation for some short time, was a pure Intellectual Essence, free from all fleshly, sensual affections. In this state the Anima, or Sensitive Nature, did not prevail over the spiritual as it doth now in us . . . The sensual, celestial ethereal part of man is that whereby we move, see, feel, taste, and smell, and have commerce with all material objects whatsoever. . . . In plain terms, it is part of the Soul of the World."
I have seen these sentences analyzed to the detriment of the sense in which Bacon meant what he wrote. Some have misinterpreted the foregoing words, as though Bacon had said that the psychic part of man is that whereby we move, see, feel, taste, and smell, and that it is a part of the Soul of the World, or in other words, a part of the Cosmic Consciousness. Such a thought would be contrary to the other statements made by Bacon very profusely throughout his mystical writings, and certainly contrary to the principles of Rosicrucianism and mysticism generally. Every mystic and occultist knows that it is not the inner or psychic man that sees, feels, tastes, and hears the vibrations of the material, objective world, and every mystic knows that these objective senses or their functioning do not utilize the consciousness known as the Cosmic or psychic consciousness of the universe. What Bacon really says in these words is that in the rapid and vainglorious physical evolution of man through his aggrandizement of the outer self, the objective consciousness and physical personality of man has been permitted to overrule or dominate the spiritual or inner man. We know that this is true in so large a proportion of mankind today that it is accountable for many of the forms of suffering and trials through which man must pass while learning the lessons of life. Bacon also means to intimate that the spiritual consciousness or the celestial, ethereal part of man's consciousness and of his seeing, hearing, feeling, and smelling is a part of the Soul of the World, or the Cosmic Consciousness. That is why the word "part" is used in the last phrase of the quoted extract.
Bacon was attempting to show, in the treatise from which these extracts are taken, that the psychic consciousness in man and the objective consciousness are closely related, and in fact a part of each is found in the other. He was trying to make plain the fact that although man was dual in his nature and dual in his consciousness, the two parts of man were not so clear cut and so separated and isolated from each other that there was not any form of intercommunication or reflex relationship. He was attempting to point out that the close relationship between these two forms of consciousness in man made it possible for man to gradually change the dominance of the objective, material self over the subjective, spiritual, without any sudden rebirth and without any period of real chaos in his life. His words clearly state that there is an ethereal as well as sensual part of man associated with moving, seeing, feeling, tasting, and smelling, that can attune itself with material objects as well as the physical faculties possessed by man, and that, therefore, we may move, see, feel, and sense things in a psychic manner as well as in a physical manner, but that such functioning and such psychic consciousness constitute a part of the universal, Cosmic Consciousness.
Psychology teaches that the demarcation between the sleeping state and the waking state of man is so indefinite that it is difficult to tell when man passes from the waking state into that of sleep. Physiology also contributes its knowledge on this point by stating that preceding the outward manifestation of the sleeping state, various organs and functionings of the body relax in their activities and many cells proceed to enter a state of coma or dormancy before the person is aware of even the desire to sleep. Mysticism also claims that the demarcation between the inner, psychic self and the outer, physical self is very indefinite, because at the borderline between the two there is a blending of the two states which really constitutes a third state, known in the mystical laboratory as the borderline state. Many of the most unusual of all psychic phenomena occur in this borderline state, and for this reason they are difficult to understand and very difficult to repeat or reproduce. This happy and intimate relationship between the two parts of man makes it possible for the one who is tired of the false method of living, wherein the inner, psychic self is imprisoned and denied, and the outer, physical self is permitted to have unlimited power, with unbridled miscomprehensions, to gradually and effectively transfer the dominance of power from the one to the other, or at least equalize the power between the selves or natures of his being.
Unless man is as fully attuned with the Soul of the World and with the Consciousness of the Cosmic Mind or the Consciousness of the Infinite, as he is with the consciousness of the objective world and its radiations of impressions, he is but half living and half existing in his present worldly state. Man cannot live wholly and completely in the spiritual state while he is upon this earth plane; and such a state of consciousness would not be either desirable or of real benefit to him. Not until man's transition, when the objective self is completely cast off can man live wholly and completely in his spiritual consciousness. And at no time here on earth can man live wholly and completely in his objective consciousness, with a total lack of spiritual sensitivity.
It is the purpose of our organization, as it is the purpose of the students thereof individually, like students throughout the world who are interested in these matters, to help bring a more balanced condition to the existence of man, whereby his two states function properly and efficiently, and he may at will enter the third or borderline condition where he is consciously in touch with both states, and capable of transferring the impressions from one to the other. This is the ideal state for man's happiness and success in life; and it is this state of existence that is truly the mystical or Rosicrucian way of living.
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