[Note: page numbers cited for The Esoteric Tradition are to the 2-vol. Second Edition and do not correspond to the 1-vol. 3rd & Revised Edition.]
Verusque Sol, illabere,
Micans nitore perpeti,
Jubarque Sancti Spiritus
Infunde nostris sensibus! (1) — Rambach
The Christmas Season marks the termination and the commencement of the cycle of the year, of that cyclic progression of renewal in the Winter, of striving towards achievement in the Springtime, of consummation at Mid-Summer, and of transmutation, in preparation for a new birth, in the Autumn.
There can be and are no abrupt changes in natural growth; each progression leads into and blends with the next: each new coming into being is preceded by the passing of an older one; and effort initiated in the youth of the year finds its fruition with the full of the year: the travail of the Fall precedes the mystic birth at Christmastime.
. . . it was the attempt in all the Mystery-Schools of all the ancient nations to bring the seasons of the earth into harmony with man's spiritual-intellectual career — i. e., with his inner life and his future destiny; in other words, to establish in the disciple's initiation as a living reality the already existing concordance between the nature in which we live and move and have our being and the more intimate Nature within us. — The Esoteric Tradition, p. 1018
Many of the ancient peoples believed that a ray from the solar divinity, or Sun-God, was born in human form on or about the 25th of December; and it was during this season that the Theophanic Mysteries were celebrated. Perhaps this Greek term, Theophany — meaning "appearance of a god" — describes more clearly than any other, the esoteric idea of Christmas, for in this rite of initiation, his own Higher Self appeared or became known to the initiant, and for a time at least, the man became his own Inner God. Then truly might he exclaim: "God of me! God of me! How glorifiest thou me so greatly!" or "Why givest thou me such peace?" For through his own efforts the godhood within him had been brought forth from perfected manhood. This was the mystic birth, the birth of the Sun-God inherent in the human being.
The solar ray lies hidden in man's heart. It is the source of his aspirations, of his instinctive response to all the finer qualities of being: it expresses itself in the spirit of adventure, in man's never satisfied search for the unattainable, even in his longing for the happiness which can only be found in fuller self-expression.
Whereas the earnest seeker for wisdom chooses as his goal his individual conception of the highest peak of achievement and sets out by the effort of becoming that which he yearns towards, to attain it; yet in all men the redeeming influence of the solar divinity works ever for regeneration — in silence and in darkness, because unrecognised by many; and even in the case of the average man, fashioned in and through travail, the fullest expression of godhood will come forth some day.
Glowingly tinted the Autumn leaves are severed from the tree, and blown away by the wind; crushed, they become one with the dust. How little is known of the alchemy of transmutation which then takes place in the drear, dank days that follow — an alchemy which only fully reveals itself in the verdant foliage of Summer. Sensitive natures often feel the loneliness of Autumn, which even in its sadness is strangely pregnant of the ecstacy of bursting bud at the Springtime. Thus it is with the spiritual cycles of man: the beneficent forces of destruction and regeneration work hand in hand: the brilliance of enlightenment is commensurate with the darkness it dispels.
Compassion is the open sesame to attainment. In giving himself man gains the gift of the gods, spiritual re-birth; and the divine Babe, the human Christ made manifest through the travail of the virgin soul, man's Spiritual Soul, becomes the esoteric gift of glorified Selfhood, the true giving in being. In such a gift is united man's gratitude to the gods in the fulfilment of his obligation to all that is, and the consummation of man's wardship to the Lords of Universal Being.
This esoteric gift of rebirth is no mere panacea won by subservience of opinion and will to that of any influence, however exalted; for we have been told that the Great Ones
look upon no moral failure as so great in defect of right as that of bowing the conscience in mental servitude to the dictates of another, no matter how high, no matter how great, how pure, how wise; for it is a part of their endeavor to make men free — free-willing agents and collaborators with themselves in what they do. Hence it is that they desire to see all men spiritually free, intellectually free, the while inwardly cognisant of the sublime ethical beauty of the subordination of the merely personal, with its whimsies and feeble vacillations, to the spiritually grand, whether in themselves or in human representatives of outstanding spiritual development. — The Esoteric Tradition, p. 1068.
To err in rejecting, when acceptance were wise, and thereby to learn sounder judgment, is infinitely more just than is a doubtful, and possibly more prudent, acquiescence in that which the conscience cannot fully uphold.
Acquiescence does not of itself imply an harmonious attuning of the individuality to the Universal which is the essence of regeneration. The twice-born is one who passes all the decisions of life through the alembic of his intuition, and because he has purged his nature of all pettiness, his reason responds instantly to the infallible guidance of his inner God. The Divine Babe is no weakling, but a human soul made strong and true in the cauldron of evolution by the working out of Nature's compassionate laws: a human soul become self-regenerated, a Savior of Mankind.
O Thou, Real Sun, infill us,
Shining with perpetual light!
Splendor of the holy (Cosmic) Spirit
Pervade our minds!
(Translation: G. de Purucker in The Esoteric Tradition)
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