Concerning God and Religion 7

"The Craft will only become what its individual members make it. If they see in it only a ceremonial procedure, at such it will remain, and their initiation will be but one in name and not in fact." ("The Masonic Initiation", by W. L. WILMSHURST.)

"In short I am apt to think that Masonry, as it is now explained, has in some Circumstances declined from its original Purity;" ("A Defence of Masonry", ANONYMOUS, 1730.)

"Masonry is a Rule of Life, not a convivial club; what we want is not to get more men into Masonry, so much as more Masonry into men." (LORD AMPTHILL, when Pro Grand Master.)

Part Seven: The Immediate Objective of the Craft

In the development of the subject of this Paper, or rather series of Papers, we have proceeded upon the supposition that our Masonic system contains and conceals far more valuable Truth than we as students and members of the Craft have yet realised. Indeed, were it not so, this and other Study Circles would not exist; there would be no need for them. Moreover, had we each found what, on entering the Craft, we professed to seek; and had we been actually, and not merely ceremonially, Initiated, Passed, Raised and Exalted, there would be no necessity for "study" at all in the form we at present find it expedient to employ. To use a paradox, we Brethren of the Craft in general are uninitiated Initiates; we are privileged to possess and use a system capable of inducing real Initiation, but we fail to achieve that Initiation in the spiritual and only authentic meaning of that word. We must ask ourselves, then, does the fault lie with the Craft system or with ourselves? The answer to this question involves an understanding of both the historical expansion of the Craft itself, and the almost imperceptible growth of the seed of its profound spiritual doctrine, "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols", in the unpromising soil of the modern industrial and mechanical era. It is, as a great Master once declared, an occult law of life that every seed of true being must first fall to the ground and die; if it die not, it abideth alone; its essence and latent potencies never get liberated, diffused, or find opportunity for full function; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. Is not the working of that occult law visible in what is now familiar Masonic history? The essential spiritual principle and doctrine latent in the Craft system has for more than two centuries suffered almost complete oblivion in what may be truly described as a formal death and burial; it has been trampled in the mire, subjected to gross misunderstanding, and profaned. Despite all this, however, such has been the vitality and innate potency of the spiritual content of Freemasonry that the Craft has continued to grow and expand, flooding the world with an immense Brotherhood, inducing fraternity and goodwill among men, and administering relief and philanthropy a vast scale. But its full spiritual fruition is not yet; it will come; it is on its way, and in the meantime the Craft is faced with the immediate objective of understanding and practising its own system.

There are always various lines of study open to members of the Craft, but in the concluding part of this Paper we propose to stress one that is seldom pursued by students, namely the deeper study of Masonic Ritual. Most of the well known Masonic Study Groups and Research Lodges devote their energies to examining things and events relating to the past; to matters of history, antiquity, anthropology and archaeology. We can, of course, learn much of great intellectual and informative interest from them all because these studies throw helpful side-lights upon the Craft system, but it must also be borne in mind that their findings and Transactions cannot aid us to promote Initiation in ourselves. It is sometimes asked in this connection, how should one proceed in order to achieve real Initiation? To this question every detail of the Craft Ritual and its explanatory Lectures contributes an answer.

The answers are often themselves deliberately cryptic and require deciphering, but this is of purpose and to test our powers of insight and research whilst, at the same time, conceding secret truths from the unqualified. Moreover, as we have already stated, they should be supplemented by every possible study and enquiry in other quarters casting light upon them. The really earnest aspirant will find that light breaks in upon him from even unlikely sources; that every book he reads, every event of his daily life, and almost everyone with whom he comes into contact, will contribute something to the attainment of his quest. He will discover also, by carefully studying his Masonic Ritual, that there are other means of grace and help to be sought diligently.

Throughout the ages the aspirant seeking Initiation has found it essential to solicit tuition from an expert teacher who knows the way, and can give him the necessary guidance suited to his personal requirements. It is for this reason that the Craft, following the traditional method, declares (in the First Section of the First Lecture) that every new Apprentice should, "seek for a Master and from him gain instruction ". In the Craft the opened Lodge was never intended to be a place for "instruction" as this is popularly understood; it is a place for the corporate "realisation" of those truths in which we are to be instructed privately elsewhere. Nor does memorising the Ritual, as this is practised in our Lodges of Instruction, constitute either valid "instruction" in Freemasonry, or the making "of a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge". What the Craft urgently needs today is qualified teachers of the inner meaning of the Ritual, a more intelligent appreciation of the spirit of Freemasonry, and far less mechanical repetition in Lodge work. The true relation between Master and pupils, which the Craft system is built upon, is that of spiritual directorship, but nowadays this task of the advancement of the juniors by the seniors, except in a very limited sense, is rarely practised. It rests not only upon the moral duty of every more advanced Brother to assist the less advanced, but also upon the spiritual principle that whoever has freely received must as freely give, and that no one is initiated for his private advantage. A qualified Preceptor in the Craft should, for reasons which ought to be apparent to students of the Ritual, be an installed Master who in himself exemplifies "those qualifications which are essential in every candidate for the Office of Master." Such a Preceptor would, in practice and not merely in theory, "be well skilled in the noble science," and able and willing to undertake the management of the work".

As a true Preceptor, he would take care to educate his pupils according to their mental and spiritual capacity, realising that no two minds are alike, and that a method which is suited to one is quite inappropriate when applied to another. Each of the pupils would in practice, as he is now in theory, be directed to "study such of the liberal arts and sciences as may lie within the compass" of his "attainments", while periodically he would be tested by the Preceptor in order to "mark " his "progress in the science". The novice or Apprentice would be taught what meditation and contemplation are, and that they involve certain exercises and postures so that, in the words of some versions of the Ritual, "the mind may obtain dominion over the passions". He would learn also that these exercises are intimately related to knowledge of important physiological truths about himself, and why it is that in the Lodge "the secrets of the Degree are communicated" only in a "perfectly erect" posture.

Finally, it would be made dear to every Brother that the whole course of Craft training under the direction of a Preceptor is for the sole purpose of awakening his own dormant spiritual powers. No knowledge worth having on these highly specialised subjects can be derived from outside communication; it wells up from within the aspirant himself whenever the proper effort is made and the gates of spiritual perception are opened. For this reason Masonic education does not consist of packing the mind with factual information obtained from without, but of "e-ducing" (drawing out) truth that is imprisoned or buried within ourselves. All true knowledge, as the sages have taught from time immemorial, is the "recovered memory" of things we once knew, and it is those things that by the process of Initiation can be brought to our remembrance.

At this juncture we ought, perhaps, to anticipate an objection which may be raised by some students of the Craft system, who will no doubt allege that in this series of Papers we have stepped right out of Freemasonry into Religion. Our reply is, on the contrary, we have been concerned with bridging and unifying them. They both deal with the same subject, although in the approach to it there is a marked difference between the initiated and the uninitiated, albeit religious, man. It is that difference which is, in the V. of the S. L., (Mark, chapter 4, verse II), proclaimed in these words: "Unto you (the initiates) it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without (the uninitiated), all these things are done in parables" (or, as we say, "veiled in allegory"). The initiation teachings preserved in the V. of the S. L., under the veil of myth and parable have always been discerned by those versed in the esoteric philosophy of the ancient Mystery Schools. They form part of that Gnosis or Secret Wisdom once only imparted within esoteric schools and fraternities, by which means they have been handed down through the ages, fragments of which however, are to be discovered in all the great World-Scriptures, more or less veiled from the profane, but plainly to be road by those instructed in the universal sacred language of symbols. By the symbolical method of interpretation the V. of the S. L., reveals its own presentation of the age old secret doctrine, confirming the ancient teachings of the Eastern schools and re-imparting the great inner truths of man's origin and destiny, the nature of his being, and the way pointed out for his salvation This mystical under-meaning of the Scriptures was, through the influence of a group of advanced initiates who in the late 17th century projected into publicity a few elements of the closely guarded initiation science, enshrined within and engrafted upon the simple Ritual of the surviving Lodges of the Guild and Fellowship of Operative Masonry.

Subsequently, in the year 1723, the advent of Speculative Freemasonry announced to the world that the Art and Craft of Masonry which was Operative in an old order of things had now emerged Figurative in a new. How the transformation was effected, and under whose direction, are two problems which still remain to be solved to the satisfaction of the large majority of Masonic students, but there is one significant fact of the emergence which bears witness to the transmission of the ancient mystical tradition in the modern Speculative system. The new English Masonic Constitution placed the Craft under the patronage of St. John the Divine and thereby identified Freemasonry with the long and unbroken line of Apocalyptic succession. An interesting observation upon the transposition of the Craft dedication under the aegis of Grand Lodge may be found in the anonymous letter, printed in "The Daily Journal" of 5th September, 1730, over the initials " A.Z. ", wherein the writer, criticising the legendary history included in the 1723 Book of Constitutions, states: "that 'tis but of late Years, (being better inform'd by some kind Rosicrucian) that they knew John the Evangelist to be their right Patron, having before kept for his Day that dedicated to John the Baptist, who we all know, lived in a Desert, and knew nothing of the Architecture and Mystery, which, with so much Plausibility, they impute to the Author of the Revelations". (The full text of this letter is reproduced in "Early Masonic Pamphlets", Edited by Knoop, Jones and Hamer, Manchester University Press, 1945). In what sense, then, are we to understand that "the Author of the Revelations" is the "right Patron" of the Craft, and for what purpose? The connection between what the writer of the anonymous letter terms "the Architecture and Mystery" and St. John the Divine becomes apparent when it is pointed out that the Apocalypse teems with Masonic imagery and allusions to spiritual building. Further, the work "Apocalypse" means an "unveiling", a vision imparted of what had heretofore been hidden. In the Greek Mysteries, as is well known, those who were not yet fully initiated were called "Mystai" (veiled ones); they were not admitted to the inner mysteries, but were permitted symbolic visions only. Initiation meant the unveiling of the true mysteries to them; after which they were called "Epopteia", meaning "those having vision or supersight" (seers); and to them was granted the full revelation of that reality which hitherto had been suggested by symbol.

According to the esoteric tradition, therefore, John the Divine, the Patron Saint of Speculative Freemasons, is, for the Craft in general, the seer or diviner who, having experienced the unveiling, beholds the vision and communicates the knowledge gained of spiritual realities; and in this sense he is correctly described as "the Author of the Revelations". The knowledge, however, is imparted to the Craft in mystical language, comprehensible by those Brethren instructed in the art of symbology, but to all others entirely unintelligible. Yet the imagery is consistent and the subject-matter systemised and complete in itself, so that once the principal keys are possessed, a coherent and ordered interpretation of the whole is made possible. We offer, then, for the guidance of Masonic students a brief commentary upon the cryptic text of the Apocalypse, tracing in the principal passages the "Architecture and Mystery" according to the tradition transmitted to the Craft by the Patron Saint of our Order.

The simplest method of analysis is to view the entire work of the Apocalypse as a drama, divisible into seven main sections or acts, interspersed with symbolic pictures and a seven-times recurring chorus. A prologue and other descriptive and explanatory interludes complete the whole. In the action thus depicted the aspirant himself is the hero who, as the victorious lamb or the Horseman, passes from one labour to another and successfully accomplishes the work set before him, vanquishing enemy after enemy, achieving ever more glorious triumphs, and finally emerging as conqueror over all. The various other actors that come upon the scene, as so often in mystical narrative, are but different aspects of his own nature. The enemies arrayed against him are the unredeemed elements of his own lower nature; the divinities and angles that speak with him and the visions he obtains, are perceptions awakened and knowledge gained by himself on higher planes. While the title of the book "The Revelation of Saint John The Divine" would indicate that it is John who undergoes the experiences of initiation, the first verse makes it appear to be concerned with the initiation of Jesus. In reality these two stand for the lower and higher principles in the same individual. In this first verse :-

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John, there is presented a triad :_

1. God, who gives the revelation 2. Jesus Christ, who receives it 3. His servant John, to whom it is later communicated.

Here the God is the Hierophant, the One Initiator; Jesus the Anointed (we must remember that Christ, like Buddha, is a title, not a name) is the higher mind; John is the lower mind (servant of the higher), to which the illumination opened up on higher planes is subsequently brought through. Verse five explains this further:-

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."

In verse five Jesus Christ, standing for mind linked with the higher intuition (Eastern nomenclature Buddhi-Manas), is the "faithful witness", i.e., that faculty which brings knowledge of things as they are and not as they deceptively appear when the lower mind (the "tuitional" faculty) is active. It must be clearly grasped by students of initiation science that almost the entire content of "normal" human knowledge is based upon assumptions or hypotheses; in fact, is but a mass of these, and especially is this true of mathematics, physical science and philosophy. The outcome of the natural division of labour between the "tuitional" and the "intuitional" faculties is the establishment of the fact of man's relationship both to the phenomenal and the real that in his psychic nature must reside the faculty of apprehending the real and that he shall one day ("when time and circumstances permit") awaken into activity this now latent faculty whereby he may make a direct and naked contact with the real. The higher intuition is also "the first begotten of the dead", because it is the first of man's spiritual faculties to awaken from the death or unconsciousness of incarnation, the body being in the earlier stages of progress the "grave" or "entombment" of spirit.

When awakened and fully active the intuitional faculty is "the prince of the kings of the earth" (the ruling power in man's life); the declaration in verse seven that "every eye shall see him" indicates that the new consciousness shall now make itself felt in every centre of awareness. If the reality of things is at present hidden from us and if we are, therefore, unable to perceive their real essences it is because our mode of thought and our consciousness have obscured our vision and limited us to this state of paucity of perception. It is not because reality is itself hidden, inscrutable quantity nor that its "modus vivendi" is "unknowable"; but because we being multiformly limited, "cabined, cribbed and confined" are resultantly lacking in the power to discern that which otherwise would be most obvious to us. It may well be set down as axiomatic that when, in the process of our thinking, we arrive at the inscrutable, the unknowable and the infinite, it is evident that our thought processes are dealing with a form of realism which is higher and beyond the possibilities of our loftiest thought-reaches. And in order to symbolise to itself this condition the intellect poses such terms as "inscrutable", "unknowable" and the "infinite" simply because that is the best it can do. Infinity is a relative term, and in fact, decreases in extensity in the proportion that the consciousness expands and comprehends. We are intended, then, to understand from the introductory verses of the Apocalypse that the aspirant, now linked up consciously with his higher mind, is able to receive certain instruction and illumination, and to record in the physical brain experiences undergone on the inner planes. But certain it is that the intellect, in the pride and arrogance of its traditional heritage, will not without a great struggle yield the ground and prestige it has held for an aeon of time ; death for the intellect will ensue as a result of the conflict but it will be a death wherefrom it will arise, quickened, revivified and uplifted by its disposer, the intuition, upon the remains of its dead self to a higher and grander state than it has ever enjoyed before.

PATMOS here stands for the state of inward-turned consciousness in which this transmission becomes possible; an island, it points to the isolation or complete detachment of the self which is necessary for this high state of introspection, for to be "in the Spirit on the Lord's day" is an initiation phrase denoting the attainment of a profound stage of mystic contemplation. The aspirant thus prepared, a voice "as of a trumpet" is heard, indicating awareness awakened on the higher mental planes. As the physical world is the realm of form and the emotional the realm of colour, so the mental world is the realm of sound, graded in quality, tone or intensity as the higher sub-planes are gained. The "trumpet" is an ancient mystery-term for that Inner Voice which issues from the highest realms of being, and is used here to describe the communicating of an authoritative command from the Initiator. He, the representative of the Logos, and therefore appearing in a seven-fold aspect (see the description in verses eleven to twenty inclusive — REVELATION, chapter 1), announces His presence by this interior trumpet voice, speaking of Himself as "Alpha and Omega". These are the first and last vowels of the Greek alphabet, which together with the five intervening vowels, correspond to the seven creative outbreakings of Deity according to the cosmological tradition. In the descriptive language of Initiation science vowels (which are pure sounds complete in themselves) stand for life or spirit, while consonants represent form ensouled by that life. The passage alluded to (verse 8), therefore, might be read as "I am the beginning and end of all life", or "I am the One Life in all", which life is the Eternally Present, for it is that "which is, and which was, and which is to come". Now follows the first symbolic vision; turning "to see the voice that spake" (verse 12), the neophyte is granted a vision of the Logos with special reference to His septenary powers as these are manifested in the Universe. The figure described is a composite picture of the seven sacred planets, corresponding to the "seven spirits of God" which in the Hebrew tradition are identified with the Archangels, although the usual sequence is not preserved. The interpretation in planetary order is as follows :-

1. "Countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength" (verse 16). The sun, symbol of the Solar Logos, as the source and centre of the seven. Among the angelic host the sun corresponds to Michael ("like unto God"), sometimes called the Angel of the Face, or the Angel of the Presence.

2. "Voice as the sound of many waters" (verse 15). The moon, in its association with water, always connected with the soul and the mysteries of Initiation. It corresponds to Artemis and Isis, and among the angels to Gabriel, the messenger.

3. "Feet like fine brass, as if they burnt in a furnace (verse 15). Molten metal (in a state of ceaseless motion) is here used both as a reference to the swiftly moving feet of Mercury and to the metal (quicksilver) which bears his name. The planet Mercury corresponds to Raphael, who, like the Greek Hermes, is traditionally the celestial guide, healer and teacher of men.

4. "Girt about the paps with a golden girdle" (verse 13). A reference to the girdle of Venus; this planet corresponds to Angel ("sweet song of God"), the angel of song, beauty and love.

5. "Sharp two-edged sword" (verse 16). The war-god Mars, bringing conflict and retribution. Thereby knowledge is gained and matter eventually overcome by spirit. This sword "comes out of the mouth", in the sense that it is connected with thought and speech, and therefore signifies the strife and suffering of the inner life. The war-god corresponds to the angel Zacchariel.

6. "Eyes were as a flame of fire" (verse 14). The Allseeing eye of Judgement, associated with Jupiter and the angel Uriel ("fire of God").

7. "His head and his hairs were white like wool" (verse 14). Saturn, invariably depicted as an aged man, the Father Time of popular association; corresponding to Kronus and the angel Orifiel ("the hour of God").

The vision of this celestial figure depicts, therefore, seven aspects of Deity as Will, Wisdom, Activity, Beauty, Righteousness Judgement and Strength. It is these seven aspects which are reflected in the traditional seven principles of man's being, and also in the seven rays or specialised activities through which the spiritual life finds expression on the outer planes. The teaching which follows relates to the divine spirit in man, which was "as dead" through long cycles of incarnation and which now, through spiritual awakening, is "alive for evermore". With the knowledge of his true spiritual being man possesses himself of the keys which release him from "hell and death" (physical and psychic existence); thus liberated, he is able to sound forth the Word of Power, the Mystic AUM (Amen). In the Apocalyptic allegory Asia is ASSIAH the lowest of the four Kabalistic worlds, the realm of manifestation, and the "seven Churches in Asia" represent group activities ("centres") within that realm.

A church or community, indicating a group of people linked together for some collective work, is here used to describe a nervous ganglion, which consists of nucleated cells acting as a centre of force to the fibres connected with it. At first called "churches" in the allegory, they are later referred to as candlesticks or "little lampstands", each centre as seen by the clairvoyant vision appearing as a blaze of light. Further on again they are called "seals" because in the unawakened individual these higher powers are inhibited or "sealed" until such time as, by an effort of spiritual will, assisted by strenuous training, discipline and continued mental and moral endeavour, they are one by one released and gradually brought to full activity. It is likewise to be understood that these particularised centres, as the diffusers of psychic energy, represent consciousness focused at different levels, degrees of perception by which man may contact life on all planes while still in the physical body, since within himself are the principles corresponding to those planes. The correspondences once understood, the cryptic words spoken to the "churches" yield up their meaning, for in these different phases of consciousness, each within its own sphere, the regenerative work is operative in distinctive method. Each mode of cognition is a door which, with every expansion of consciousness, opens out a wider field of perception. Each presents its own dangers, and offers its peculiar problems and difficulties each, rightfully used or "conquered" leads to certain results in the perfecting work.


In the sacred drama of the Mysteries the action was interspersed with pictorial and choral interludes, explanatory and symbolic, designed to further instruct the spectators and also to deepen the impression upon them of the subject portrayed. The seer of the Apocalypse has adopted a similar device, and has separated the acts of the Initiation drama by symbolic visions and choruses of praise. The first of these occurs as a prelude to the first act. Here the neophyte, sunk in profound mystic trance, is permitted to contemplate the supreme mystery of his own inward nature. "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven" (Chapter 4, verse I); i.e., access is given to the higher realms of consciousness wherein the whole range of his life on every plane is made visible, and "in the spirit" he sees himself as a sun-like centre surrounded by all the elements which make up his being, ranged in concentric circles according to their degree. The dazzling vision recorded represents the end to be attained by the aspirant, the final consummation whereby the Spirit shall become ruler of his entire nature.

Encircled by personified principles, attributes, manifested powers and faculties the Higher Self (symbolised by the Lamb) sits enthroned, the centre of consciousness, the source of illumination, hailed and recognised by all the lesser elements of being as the Inner Ruler Divine. Notwithstanding the fact that the encircling figures are described as "round about the throne" in an indefinite order, the student versed in the symbolism employed will readily perceive the relative positions indicated by the figures chosen.

First in order is the Lamb symbolic of man's highest principle — Pure Spirit (Atma), and this is therefore accurately placed "in the midst of the throne"; although enshrined in the inmost recesses of man's being, it is by this spiritual principle that the whole nature shall eventually be dominated, and to it all faculties are to be made subservient, all desires subordinated. The chorus of praise (the first in the series of seven choral interludes) chanted by the beings "round the throne" is expressive of the awakened recognition and of the co-operation of all man's lesser powers with the Spirit within. The next in order, adhering to the seven-fold classification of the Eastern schools, is the Spiritual Soul (Buddhi) in man, the vehicle of his higher intuition and purified emotion. This is appropriately imaged as the glassy sea, described as "like unto crystal", that is, as entirely without motion, a state of absolute calm. The sea in its natural movement and restlessness is a constant Biblical symbol for the emotional life of the lower planes, wherein the soul is ever torn by conflicting deares, ever restless and storaptossed, ever endangered. The journey of the pilgrim-soul from earth to heaven is presented in many religious systems as a voyage across the sea of life, turbulent and stormy, subject to sudden gale and the angry waves of tempest. So do the passions and unsubdued desires of the lower nature imperil the progress of the soon but when the emotional nature is purified, controlled and stilled, then the "sea" calmed and clear, becomes as a mirror, reflecting light from the spiritual sun and shining itself by that light.

Now comes the Higher Mind (Manas), of which the vehicle is the causal body, and this appears under the figure of the rainbow, an allusion to the flashing fire and rapidly changing colours in the highly developed causal body. Yet another symbol, "the seven lamps burning" represents the projection of the Spirit outwards to the levels of phenomenal existence (a septenary universe) bringing the evolving individuality under the planetary order. By a further projection it reaches the physical realm of time and generation symbolised by the twenty-four elders, wearing crowns upon their heads. They stand for the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, doubled, (each having its dual aspect); this outermost circle denotes the realm of incarnation, in which the soul has undergone long cycles of human experience. Finally, the four beasts present the Zodiacal cross as symbolic of the four-fold life of man.

These symbolic creatures are: 1) a calf, 2) a lion, 3) a man or angel, and 4) an eagle. They are the astrological signs of TAURUS the bull, LEO the lion, AQUARIUS the water-bearer, and AQUILA the eagle (substitute for SCORPIO the serpent), which, placed at the cardinal points of the Zodiacal circle, form the well-known celestial cross, sometimes called the four arms of the sun. They likewise correspond both to the metaphysical elements of earth, water, fire and air, and to the four-fold constitution of man as body, soul, mind and spirit. In the symbology of the Bible they are further related to four of the tribes of Israel. Of similar significance are the composite creatures described in the vision of Ezekiel, which had the face of an OX and an EAGLE on one side, and that of a MAN and a LION on the other, together forming a wheel with four faces. Other variants of this imagery are preserved in the winged Lions and Bulls of Assyrian origin, also in the winged SPHINX, which has the body of a bull, the claws of a lion, the face of a man and the wings of an eagle. Examined separately they may be tabulated as follows

1. THE CALF (Taurus): corresponds to the element of earth and man's bodily nature. Exalted, it is the false worship of Mammon, symbolised by the golden calf set up by the rebellious Israelites; mastered and disciplined, it is the strong and serviceable instrument of the spirit. As the ox ploughs the fields in preparation for seed-time and harvest, so man in his physical body must labour to gain the fruitage of incarnation. Again, the bull is the symbol of fertility and creative power, and as such was revered in India, Egypt, Assyria and Greece. In Old Testament mythology Taurus is associated with Joseph, designated

" . . . a fruitful bough ... Whose branches run over the wall." (Genesis 49, verse 22.)

and later the Ox is proclaimed the standard of his descendants, the tribe of EPHRAIM. Of the four creatures here represented, however, the Calf is the symbol of the outer sense nature and bodily function.

2. THE LION (Leo): corresponds to fire, an element both destructive and refining. In man's nature it symbolises the mind, on lower levels destructive and ungovernable, while uplifted, purified and controlled, it is the sun-illumined higher intellect and vehicle of the spiritual faculties, kingly, noble, strong. It is the standard of the tribe of JUDAH, the "lion's whelp" who became a leader and conqueror, as the higher powers of the mind must eventually achieve rulership over the lower nature. In one of the stages of the Mithraic initiations the neophyte was named "the lion".

3. THE MAN (Aquarius): corresponds to the element of water, and therefore to the emotional nature and the psychic realm. At the lower level it is the passional, desire life; at the higher level it becomes purified love and intuitional wisdom. "Water" as the emotional life is the turbulent and perilous sea of passion and desire; as the life of the Spiritual Soul (Buddhi) it is the "glassy sea" (peace and purity) attained in the higher realms of being. This sign is the standard of REUBEN, "unstable as water" (Genesis 49, verse 4), instability and restlessness being characteristic of the emotional life until transmuted and controlled by the Spirit.

4. THE EAGLE; the extra-zodiacal substitution for Scorpio, corresponding to the element of air and to the spirit in man. It is the standard of DAN, and is symbolic of spiritual vision and aspiration.

Each of the four "beasts" is described as having "six wings about him" (Revelation 4, verse 8) which, including the creature, symbolises a seven-fold extension or power of direction. The "beasts are likewise full of eyes indicating awakened perception on all levels.

(To be concluded.)