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Hermetic Library discussions
A Dialogue of Vision
Rebecca: I love everything Egyptian and I have seen many visions; I wish you would help me to see visions of Egypt.
Widow: I will do what I can. Here is a real Egyptian talisman. Can you see anything if you hold it in your hand?
Rebecca (after a short pause): It is the furnace of Set-Hor. I pass into it. I am between two eternities. I see worlds breaking like bubbles. I come to a region of awful cold; there are pyramidal blocks of ice in a polar sea.
Rebecca: A great galley approaches. In it is an immensely old man. He holds up a circle with seven rings on it. He says it represents the etherial invisible worlds that are attracted by the moon. He is covered with fishes’ scales, which he says are symbols of sovereignty. When the seven worlds were more material he controlled them. At one time he had complete control over the solar forces, but the sun got strength and consumed his worlds, and they melted away from material sight. They are pleasant dwelling places for the wandering thoughts of men, and full of immeasurable wisdom. It is aeons of time since any of the human race have penetrated to this region. The earth, when he knew it, was mere star dust. When worlds were making he and the great solar influence then under his rule played at ball with them.
Widow: They are, I suppose, the Beings who, some say, flung worlds to each other across the spaces. I am afraid I have not helped you to see a characteristic Egyptian Vision. Shall we try another symbol?
Rebecca: Do let us. I see so easily with you. (The widow gave her another talisman.) Oh, now I see a wonderful chamber, the top is like vernis martin. Coiled green serpents form a lamp hanging from the ceiling. The lights are in flowers made of green chrysoprase, of ruby, of yellow chrysolite, of sapphire and diamond. An ancient Chaldean sage, in a red robe, sits under the green serpents. He sits cross-legged, and the serpents whisper to him and connect him with the five lamps of the soul. The sage says the lamps are influences surrounding the soul.
Widow: I think I can explain them; they are the moods of Nature ; the green and white are the outward and inward rush of multiplicity, and the red and blue the outward and inward rush of unity; and the serpents are the mystical paths by which we connect ourselves with those moods.
Rebecca: The green light is wonder and fear and vision; the red light is the fire of the intelligence and devours all things but itself; the yellow light is the light which foresees the future; the blue light is the knowledge of the inmost meanings of the present, and is immortal; the white light is the knowledge of past tradition and ritual; it attracts gods as prayer attracts them.
Widow: This is an interesting vision; I will ask another seeress about it.
Rebecca: It is puzzling to me because I know nothing of occult systems.
Seeress (after she has visualised the scene): The green lamp is the exterior life-principle, and is manifested by most healthy people as energy and readiness to take up ideas and carry out plans. The ruby lamp is an absorbing passion; it manifests when some fixed idea gains possession of the soul, and when its whole energies are turned into one deep channel from which it seems impossible to escape. It is an intense fervour of devotion which makes it feed upon itself until it is burnt out. The pale yellow crystal lamp is the interpreter of wisdom; it is the revealer of the interior divine light to the mortal soul. The diamond light is the interior light peopled with Driving Forces and energies which the ancients called gods, bright iridescent beings who have no part in the life of the flesh. The sapphire light is that still more interior world which strips itself of diversity and desire and lives in the clearest etheric region as pure consciousness.
Widow: Then may we take it that the five lights are the moods of the soul induced by contact with the moods of time such as of heat and cold, dawn and sunset?
Seeress: Yes, and with the moods of space also—the solid, liquid, fiery, gaseous and etheric.
Rebecca: The Chaldean has risen. He is wise but not benevolent. He will show me no more unless I follow him into a horrible dark cavern.
Widow: That is enough. We will leave the vision. Repeat the formula I gave you and return.
(A few days later.)
Widow: The black cavern you feared was a strangely interesting place. It was the Symbolic Well of Truth, the Truth that kills out all desire for life.
Rebecca: I felt it was terrible.
Widow (quoting): “Who shall look upon Jehovah’s face and live?” Our seeress had a vision of the pythoness sitting in her cavern. Around her were the five birds of Egypt, the goose, the flamingo, the hoopoe, the hawk and the heron. They represented the Lord of changing life; the Lady of Single purpose; That which sees the wide fields; the Dreamer and the Cataclysm; they are the rulers of the five moods you saw symbolised as lamps. Now let us see what you get with another talisman.
Rebecca: I see a hawk hovering over Mount Horeb. There is an immensely old man who tells me he is the solar influence which superseded the most ancient solar worship of the red dragon with seven heads and ten horns.
Widow: I wonder if that means a time when there was nothing of our universe but a fiery cloud? Ask to see the school of mystics who are supposed to have lived in this region long before the time of Moses.
Rebecca: I see a rock, like a human head; within it is a shrine with the image of an eye on a single square pillar. Priests dressed in black wind round it continually. Their work is to worship the unsleeping eye; the community is very small; each priest has been selected and made to feel that he must leave everything else in order to join the fraternity. The priests were often entranced for long periods and entombed; the hibernation caused a complete change in the brother who underwent it; he became immensely powerful and in turn communicated a kind of human power to stones and herbs; a human consciousness was communicated to the different kingdoms of nature. The black robed priests died or were killed when their time came, but two in violet were stable magical forms which were inhabited by a series of souls. Golden radiations came from their heads and sounds like those of stringed instruments. The pillar of the earth stands in the midst of their dominion, and round it the priests of harvests and famines and the priests of floods and rains are disposed. The priests hold these offices after 700 years of initiation.
Widow: This seems to be a vision of the co-operation of human consciousness and natural forces in the primeval world.
Rebecca: I see bay trees growing from the tombs of the sepultured monks; they are symbols of the triumph of life; their leaves and berries give power over the shades of the dead and over all the terrors of the soul. The Horeb priests help the unhappy dead. The two priests in violet especially ruled in the twilight regions.
Widow: Take the hands of the priests.
Rebecca: They have crowned me with bay leaves so that I may have no fear of death. I see the souls like outlines in light, they are throwing up their hands with little tapers, reaching to something above them. There I see souls sitting in the flowers of lotuses with light shining and curling round them in strange convolutions. These are saviours of the earth, they walk in the midst of us but we cannot see them unless our hearts are open
They touch us then and that is the beginning of knowledge and initiation.
Widow: Can you see the effect of the touch?
Rebecca: Healing first, then gradual dissolution, the heart opens more and more and the man fades until there is nothing left but a flaming heart, an ecstasy of fervour. There are many shades who long for extinction; they drift through the void and must be helped; otherwise they would become like a heap of ashes instead of part of the fiery consciousness which is their destiny.
Widow: Suppose the ego becomes a heap of ashes, what then?
Rebecca: The ego that fails makes no difference to the consciousness of the whole. You cannot lose consciousness because all the filaments of life are so interwoven that whether the nucleus ego is merged in the fire or not, yet its filaments remain intertwined with other egos. It is just as if there were a great network of light and each knot were an ego, yet the string goes through countless other knots and the little charred patch makes very little difference in reality. I see consciousness as a great network with stars and planets worked into it and the whole palpitates as waves of Breath pass through and through it, making it quicken and die alternately. The source of this breath is what we call God. The antithesis is black, and out of the blackness the souls seem to pour. I see a great black image; there are five kinds of souls—glorious souls, living, actively teaching souls, inspired souls, human souls and animal souls. They pour like sparks from the different parts of the body of the image. The blackness blindly manufactures these different degrees of soul. They are all red and fiery because they are to burn out the unconscious blackness. The white world of the gods seems quite separate from this black ignorance and red struggle. The gods combine and work out beautiful patterns with no flaw in them; they are white as impalpable snow, and each part moulds itself consciously into beautiful shining shapes. The whole place is a wonder, and sounds of great harmonies like the Eroica Symphony seem to sweep through it.
Widow: Are there no human beings there?
Rebecca: No. Human beings have always the red mark of blood on them like a bird’s foot; the greatest human power is in a mixing of the black, the red, and the white natures.
Widow: You are speaking in the symbolism of the alchemists, and of Jacob Böhme.
Rebecca: I see a track of the red footprints of birds, leading to a wonderful sun; flights and flights of heavy bodied birds fly in circles round it. I count seven flights. In the sun is a cauldron where the black and white natures are melted. The pathway of red footprints means blood sacrifice, threefold renunciation, three passions for stripping the soul naked of its ignorance and illusions. One passion is love of the mystical sun. One is the passion for shining wisdom and one is a passion for energetic action. The gods never follow those paths. They are only for souls incarnate. Incarnation means a fusion of worldstuff and consciousness. In a god’s consciousness nothing exists because everything subsists. It is impossible to be conscious of omniscience because it is omniscience. So that in our sense a god is unconscious.
Widow: What happens when a god becomes conscious in our sense?
Rebecca: The god is limited for the time being in order to manifest; but he does not forget his godhead and his power, as the human souls forget their power when they are manifested. A god uses limitation as we use a chariot, not as we use our bodies, identifying ourselves with them. The earth is self-forgetful also like a human soul; but round it there are seven luminous worlds which are informed by radiations from the divine state, who guard it during its period of forgetfulness.
Widow: Then the emanations are not pure divinity?
Rebecca: No, they are seven great Beings who have passed through the fusion in the cauldron. They are great Powers partaking of the red and black natures as well as of the white.
Widow: It sounds like the Indian idea of the Seven Rishis who are guardians of the earth,
Rebecca: I know nothing of that. I can only tell you what I see.
Widow: Can you see what happens to an individual soul?
Rebecca: At first it seems like one of the heat sparks I saw streaming from the blackness some time ago. It gives form to the blackness and gathers it together. It seems to be making universes. I see suns with hundreds of planets streaming round them. These sparks seem to be the cause of this. They palpitate in the centres and rush inwards and outwards as if they were weaving a cosmos. Everything gets dark. Now I see one spark. It is a human soul, I think; but not an individual quite; it is surrounded with colours. The colours are influences left by other human souls. Human souls are all making colours, they seem to do nothing else, that is, during manifestation in a body. The forms of bodies keep changing but the colour accumulates and gets more and more powerful. When persons die their forms divide into five, and are quite separated from the living people; but they leave their colour with the living people, and it twines itself into the living, and influences them for a long time. I see all the results of life symbolised by different colours. There are horrid devouring colours, dark and ugly; they deteriorate and obsess; but they are simply human emanations, not devils or anything of that sort. How careful one ought to be not to leave ugly colours behind one! Ugliness drags the life out of the living, just as beauty gives them life. Beautiful colours seem almost godlike. They are beneficent and helpful.
Widow: Have they any lasting connection with the souls who created them?
Rebecca: No, the dead are quite absorbed in an interior world. I see them, as I said, in five parts. First there is their link with life which is just a red geometrical symbol or seal, more or less perfect in shape; secondly, a wanderer who seems to watch for a signal; thirdly an enraptured being, sitting at the feet of an embodied wisdom. It is shown to me like this but I may not see the true form. The fourth being is superhuman and never incarnates; but is the source of the beneficent beings I saw as the most beautiful colours he’ping the living. Only geniuses among men can leave this highest kind of influence with the living. That part is what is sometimes called the Christ or Buddha in us. It gives impulses to the sacrifice of the intellect and perceptions. Beyond it is the happy being which is just like a star singing for joy; at least that is the only way I can express it. It belongs to the white world which never knows sorrow, and only touches the black and the red worlds when they have attained perfection.
Widow: Then people who think they can communicate with the dead are really communicating with the impression the dead person has left upon them, that is what influence is at bottom?
Rebecca: Yes, the form leaves a photograph behind it. That is why spiritualistic communications are generally so extraordinarily uninteresting. Very few of us can make beautiful pictures of our friends; we can only get distorted and badly focussed photographs.
Widow: Which part of you is it that sees visions?
Rebecca: It seems to me it is the wandering watchman, the second stratum of the soul. In life I see the soul arranged in concentric ayers round the ethereal starry part which is the innermost soul of joy, which sometimes gives a little beauty to an artist’s work. Next to the innermost is the part that does what it thinks right, the sense of duty and sacrifice to an idea. The third part receives ideas, eats them as it were, the second digests them. All the time you are struggling to argue about pros and cons you are functioning in the outermost crust, which always wants to solidify changeable things; it is fundamentally perverse.
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