The Path — May 1887


[Continued from April, Volume 2, number 2]

In our former article we had arrived at the fact of consciousness, as the representative of the noumenal in existence. Consciousness is also the alembic in which the experiences of the outer life are precipitated. It may justly then, be called the central sun of individual existence. Consciousness is not the one life, nor is it spirit, though it partakes of both, for life is diffused and participated in by plants and animals, in which may also be discerned the dawn, or germs of consciousness. But as the life of man on the physical side has its root in matter, so the life of man on the noumenal side has its root in spirit. Matter and spirit are thus the two extremes of cosmic substance. We may say crudely, that spirit precipitated, consolidated, is matter, while the intermediate condition is the ether. Oken has shown that self-consciousness belongs only to man. An animal is conscious of hunger or lust, and follows blindly the all absorbing passion, but no animal is self-conscious, that is: conscious of self, as a whole. A very common mistake is made in reading accounts of creation recorded in ancient scripture, in regarding it (creation) as a process once for all completed, when the fact is that the process of creation is forever repeated, and the process is for ever the same, and we can observe it now as "at the dawn of creation:" "eternity," applying to a limitless past, as to an endless future. Another fatal mistake may here be pointed out, though not in its natural order, and that is the vagueness of our concepts of the idea "God." Our ideas of God can have but two sources, viz: external nature and internal nature of man, there are no other sources from which the God-idea can be derived. From the one — nature at large — our ideas of an underlying force holding the stellar orbs in place and moving them in cyclic order, adjusting and adapting all things great and small are purely Pantheistic. From the other — the inner nature of man — endowed with intelligence, love, and aspiration, our ideas are purely anthropomorphic, and these two views of the ONE, the BOUNDLESS, are not, as commonly supposed, antagonistic, but perfectly consistent, as will presently appear, for the idea is not only fortified by scripture, but no other concept can for a moment be entertained when this is once comprehended, for it illuminates alike the soul of man and the sacred page.

Mr. J. Ralston Skinner, a most able Caballist, thus translates the first utterance of the books of Moses: "In (or out of) His own essence as a womb, God, in the manifestation of two opposites in force, created the two heavens, i. e., the upper, or light, and the lower or dark; signifying the equivalents of heat and cold, day and night, expansion and contraction, summer and winter; in short, the all embracing cosmic relations." (1)

The meaning of this and its exceeding value will not at once appear to one who has not carefully considered its bearings. It is well known that the word here translated as God is Elohim, and that it is plural, and while this fact has been ignored in the current version, the real idea has at the same time been lost sight of. The idea of One Power operating in a twofold way or by opposites, will be found to be not only a key to the text, but to cosmic unfoldment. Our primary concepts must agree with the constitution and existence of things, or they are worthless, and but little investigation is required to show us that this idea of polarity or DUALITY, lies at the foundation of all created things, and when it is once clearly apprehended it furnishes a key to creative energy. The following table will illustrate this antithesis, though it is approximate and by no means exhaustive, but if found true in principle it may assist to more exact and comprehensive concepts.


Let it be borne in mind that our present purpose is not to build up a system or elaborate a theory, but to suggest concepts which are fundamental in the nature of things, and which therefore must be included in all systems of thought that undertake to grasp existence. This duality of existence is so intimately blended in our every day experience as to be practically overlooked. Moreover, owing to the materialistic tendency of the age, it is the custom to express spirit in terms of matter, and so to ignore practically one-half of existence. It may readily be seen that volumes might be written to illustrate this antithesis of nature, or the duality of existence.

Now it must be borne in mind that all living organisms spring from a germ, and that in the preparation or vivification of this germ, male and female elements or agencies are employed. Here then are the conditions in which to observe the processes of creation, and these conditions are by no means past finding out.

A vivified organic cell contains potentially the complete organism, and by its study we learn not only the process in any given case, but nature's plan.

Every germ is therefore a Center of Life. In the vivification of the germ or cell, both male and female elements are employed. All activities whether in germ, or completed organism, consist in currents or movement to, and from the center, i.e., outflowing and inflowing, or "circulation," and development is always a living equation, of which evolution is one-half and involution the other half, in strict accordance with the basic condition of duality. We hear a great deal nowadays of the "polarity of the human body" A magnet is a body whether of iron or "flesh" in which there is an orderly or systematic arrangement of the polarity of its atoms, molecules, or cells, and this polar arrangement may be according to a single system, or a series of systems, the lower subordinate to the higher, as in animals or man. Crystallization and organization depend on this systematic polar arrangement. Every cell of a living body (as of a magnetic bar of steel the atoms) is a polarized cell, for to say that it "lives" is to say that it is dual, i.e., polarized. (2)

A hint in this direction is all that time and space will at present allow, yet the philosophical continuity of concepts must be apparent, and the more the idea is followed out and unfolded, the more apparent will the truth and universality o£ these concepts become.

All this is best comprised and comprehended in the language of symbolism. Let us imagine in space or in the Ether a "geometrical point," (say where two rays of light cross or intersect). This geometrical point is "position without dimension," i. e., an "ideal point." Now let this "ideal" point become "real," that is let it "appear" as the light, the water, and the dry land "appear" as recorded in the sacred text.

Coincident with this appearance, at this point is the birth of matter and force from the bosom of ether or the womb of cosmos; movement of the atom is the result. It "whirls in space" viz., in the ether, it has an "atmosphere" of its own, is a world in itself, a minature world, and its new relations to the surrounding ether assigns it a "circumference," it is polarized, evolves and involves, i. e., has centre and circumference the moment it realizes existence. This is the "centre that is everywhere and the circumference that is nowhere." This centre of "cosmic dust" is at first "without form and void." The spirit of all things is at its center, as it floats in the ocean of ether; its primary or cosmic form is a globule, and its first evolution is an emanation from its centre, but as it is polarized this emanation occurs in opposite directions. If in one direction only, it would form a radius, but in opposite directions it forms an equator or diameter line. Matter, space, time and motion are thereby for it determined. It is definitely related to itself and its surroundings. These relations are, for diameter I; for circumference 3,14159+ or p . It will be seen that these are the facts and the true relations as we find them, and it matters not whether these emanations from the bosom of the ether occur singly, or in groups of myriads, or sufficient to form a planet, the principle is the same. If each atom so emanating associates with fellows this association must be by virtue of inherent similarity, attraction, or consonant rhythm. These basic principles may be conveniently studied in the process of crystallization, and are exemplified in every snowflake formed from a drop of water, as in the unfolding of every germ, leaf, or flower. We now see that there is a world of meaning in the Smaragdine Tablet to which we have previously referred; only those ridicule it who are too stupid to understand, or too conceited to "consider the lilies," and who will therefore never behold them arrayed in all their glory.

(To be continued.)


1. "The Ancient of Days" by J. Ralston Skinner, p. 39. (return to text)

2. Sea Herbert Spencer’s "Physical Synthesis" Part 5 — Psychology. (return to text)

The Path