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Nothing is more difficult than to put the spirit where it rightfully belongs in our lives: in first place. In fact, except in the case of a few great saints or mystics, the attempt to do so has usually ended in failure, discouragement and even mental breakdown. Meditation, mediumship, astral projection and dreams can give us access to the invisible world but the quality of the revelations we receive depends on our degree of evolution. Nor is it emptiness or absence; it is plenitude, a fullness comparable to that experienced by two human beings who love each other very deeply and share something that cannot be expressed in words or gestures.

Silence is a quality of the inner life'. It is true that for those who do not possess the key to it, it is obscure but for those who do poss-ess the key it is extremely clear. Once one knows the hidden meaning of the numbers and symbols, all the elements that seem to be totally unrelated can be brought together and used to shed light on each other, and the result is an extraordinarily logical whole'.

Human beings come into the world with certain aspira-tions; they need to love and be loved: they need to know, and they need to create. It is the fulfilment of these aspirations that they call happiness. Before they can fulfil their aspirations, however, they need to add something more to the baggage they bring with them; it is not enough to want something in order to obtain it. Happiness is like a talent that has to be cultivated. If you don't cultivate it, it will never amount to anything. This is why it is essential to have a store of lovely pictures that we can conjure up in our minds often, pictures that are with us day and night, so that our thoughts may be constantly in touch with all that is most elevated, pure and sacred.

And what is more beautiful, more poetic or more full of meaning than water and fire, and the different forms in which they appear to us? You can fill your whole life with these pictures, and absorb them until they impregnate every cell of your body. At that time, no organized form of life was possible on earth, for it was nothing but a seething mass of molten matter constantly racked by volcanic eruptions Nothing solid can be built on such unstable ground, and this means that before they can become a hos-pitable environment for plants, animals and human beings, symbolically speaking, young people have to introduce an element of moderation, control and harmony into their lives.

It is this that constitutes the transition from youth to adulthood: the transition from an unorganized, chaotic, unstable life to a life that is rich and full and beneficial both to oneself and to others. The fact is that one cannot define truth, for it does not exist as such. Only wisdom and love exist It is your love and wisdom that will show you truth.

That every external manifestation of religion would disappear. That the time had come to worship God in spirit and in truth. They would feel utterly lost, as though they had nothing to hold on to any more. Only those who are exceptionally highly evolved are capable of finding within their own soul the sanctuary in which to communicate with the Lord. Of course, such an expansion of consciousness is highly desirable.

Those who achieve it are free to work without restrictions to build a future for themselves as sons and daughters of God. We use electricity to light and heat our houses, and power all kinds of machines and appliances, but we have to be very careful of how we handle it, for it is easy to cause an accident. Direct contact with an electric current can be fatal.

In order to harness and use it without danger, we have to channel it through transformers. The same can be said of God: God is like a pure current of electricity which has to pass through transformers before it reaches us. And the transformers that God uses are the countless luminous beings that populate the heavens, known to tradition as the choirs of angels or angelic hierarchies.

It is through them that we receive divine life; it is through them that we can be in contact with God. On September 23rd, the Sun enters the sign of Libra Scales or Balance , and this is the autumn equinox. After the ascending phase, from Aries to Virgo, comes the descending phase, from Libra to Pisces. Libra is the seventh sign on the zodiacal belt. Why, you may wonder, are there scales in the heavens, and what do these scales teach us? This is the only sign of the zodiac that does not represent a living being, human or animal.

It is an inanimate object, and not just any object, but an instrument for weighing things. It is as though its two pans were there to maintain the balance between the powers of darkness and light, of life and death. Libra, the Scales of the zodiac, is a reflection of the cosmic scales, the equilibrium between the two opposite and complementary principles, thanks to which the universe came into being and continues to exist.

The symbol of the scales, which we find also in the sephirotic Tree of Life, dominates the whole of creation. Faith goes hand in hand with long-term work. It is the fruit of efforts repeated day after day. Faith is something that lives, something that we must never separate from our everyday life.

This is what we need to understand if we are to discover the hidden meaning of Jesus' words : if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to ther," and it will move. We can move a mountain, but only if we do not rush at it, thinking to move it in one go. We can move a mountain, but only if we are ready to move it stone by stone. Every stone we move - that is, every time we succeed in something, however small, increases your faith ; we begin to feel that we are stronger and more stalwart, more in control of the situation.

And then one day, if we look back at the progress we have made and find that half the work is already done, it is just possible that our faith will have become so strong that we can move the rest in one go. Well, it is the way you handle these difficulties whiwh reveal the quality, the authenticity of your faith. You must not say, for example, "I'm going to change my life completely, and I don't care what the family thinks. That i not my problem. Try, as far as possible, not to make others suffer, and of course, you must not abandon them.

Remember that love is always greater than faith. The Gospels can be understood and interpreted in the light of alchemical science. On hte face of it, they are simply giving an account of the life of one man, Jesus, born two thousand years ago in Palestine, but while they recount the different stages of his life, from birth to death and resurrection, they are in fact also describing alchemical processes. In spite of being an object of condemnation by the clergy, since the Middle Ages alchemy has profundly permeated Christian mysticism and esotericism.

And if you study the sculptures both on the outside and inside of cathedrals such as the Notre-Dame in Paris or the Notre-Dame in Chartres, you will discover that the builders of these cathedrals possessed alchemical knowledge, to which architecture and sculpture bear ample witness.

It is joy without a reason, given to us simply by our sense of existing as a soul and spirit. So instead of waiting to possess something or someone in order to feel joy, you must do the opposite: rejoice in the existence of people and things, for the joy you receive from them will give you the sense that they belong to you.

You truly possess everything that gives you joy, and far more so than if you owned it. For what the sage has understood has freed him from the pointless burdens of life and propelled him to regions where an eternal sun shines. But it takes so long for them to integrate it! The only thing therefore that the sage can communicate immediately is the joy he derives from this wisdom — the joy that fills his heart to overflowing — and his laughter is the expression of this joy, which we can also call love. Keep walking the path of light. And what will be at the end of the path?

You will find out when you arrive, and you will be dazzled. Izvor-serien Samlede verk Hefter. Toward a Solar Civilization AN Although we may know about heliocentricity from the point of view of astronomy, we are still far from having exhausted all its possibilities in the biological, psychological, cultural and spiritual spheres.

Sexual Force or the Winged Dragon AN The dragon is not pure fiction: it is the symbol of our instinctive, primitive forces and is common to all mythologies as well as to early Christian iconography. A philosophy of universality AN It is not enough to create associations dedicated to universality. What is a Spiritual Master? Christmas and Easter in the Initiatic Tradition AN The fact that the Feasts of Christmas and Easter coincide with the winter solstice and the spring equinox is evidence of their cosmic significance.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil AN The solution of the question of evil lies in knowing the methods of how to work with it and to use its power. Light is a Living Spirit AN Light is held by tradition to be the living substance of the universe from which God created the world. The Living Book of Nature AN 'In Initiatic Science, to read means to be able to decipher the subtle and hidden side of objects and creatures, to interpret the symbols and signs placed everywhere by Cosmic Intelligence in the great book of the universe.

The Symbolic Language of Geometrical Figures AN 'Geometrical figures are, as it were, the framework or skeleton of reality but although they are reduced to the bare bones they are by no means dead, for they represent living realities in man and the universe.

Man's subtle bodies and centres AN 'However much we cultivate and refine our five senses they will always be severely limited in scope for they belong to the physical plane: they will never be capable of exploring any reality above or beyond the physical. The Zodiac, Key to Man and to the Universe AN The constellations and planets are the hieroglyphs, the sacred letters which reveal, to those who know how to decipher them, how mankind and the world were created, how they evolve hand in hand and how their inner structure is identical.

True Alchemy or the Quest for Perfection AN 'Don't battle against your weaknesses and vices for it is they who will win: instead, learn to make them work for you. And what is a wheel? A Zero, the circle, which rotates around a central axis, the One. A wheel demonstrates the work of the One within the Zero, the spirit that activates matter. And we find this mirrored in the fact that the earth itself has an axis, and in ceaseless rotation around this axis spins its mass, the Zero.

Those who know how to study numbers see them becoming significant, alive, and active. In order to form the number Ten, the One and the Zero must be both linked and mobile. But the only areas in which human beings know this reality is in mechanics and in sexuality - and even then, their ignorance is very great.

But in what conditions is the child conceived? The One penetrates the Zero in order to study it, but it does so in darkness, having extinguished the light of thought, and this is why the results are so mediocre. Human beings work with the number Ten in such a way that they are like anglers who never catch anything but old boots filled with mud. They should be able to bring up a rich haul of gold and precious stones, but they find nothing but old boots.

Every action that contributes to sustaining life corresponds to the number Ten. When you eat, you open your mouth - Zero - and put in some food - One, and the combination of the two produces energy. When you see, it is because light - One - enters the Zero of your eye.

In the same way, you hear because a sound strikes your ear. As for your head, its very shape reflects the Zero, and this Zero has to be penetrated by the One. Left to itself, our head, the Zero, can produce nothing worthwhile. But once it is penetrated by a ray of celestial light it gives birth to a divine child, and we become the Ten. Until then we are an empty Zero. The number Ten means that one who bears light penetrates the obscurity of matter and illuminates it in order to study it.

It is the speleologist who penetrates with a lantern into the darkness of a cave. It is the hunter who penetrates the unlit depths of a forest - for hunting symbolizes something other than the pursuit of a deer or a boar. In the spiritual life there are other kinds of game to pursue, other treasures to be discovered. The number Ten is also within each one of us. The One is the mind, the Zero is the heart. By means of our mind we have to penetrate the heart - our own and that of others - in order to illuminate it and work in collaboration with it. The intellect or mind, like the piston which goes in and out of the cylinder, must go in and out of the heart.

Those who fail to use their intellect in this way will be incapable of understanding. Above all they will be incapable of knowing themselves. By penetrating the deep caverns of the heart, wisdom discovers the treasures it contains, the hidden veins of precious stones, metals, and liquids. The intellect descends into the dark well of the heart in order to find and draw out its precious waters. The Ten, therefore, represents the work of the intellect on the heart, but it also represents the work of the spirit on the soul.

In its most sublime significance, the Ten represents a human being whose spirit plunges into the depths of the cosmic soul in order to pierce its mysteries, and returns illuminated. We have to become familiar with the Ten on the highest levels. In every human being there is the feminine aspect, which represents darkness, and the masculine aspect, which bears light. These two aspects are particularly well developed in those who are very creative. A Ten without light is a Ten in a two-dimensional world. In the three-dimensional world the Ten is in action in the midst of light.

These four letters correspond to the four principles in a human being: One, the spirit; Two, the soul; Three, the -i intellect, and Four, the heart. To live in the Ten is to have a pure heart, a luminous intellect, a soul as vast as the universe, and a potent spirit capable of overcoming all obstacles. From the number Ten, as from all the other numbers, we can learn certain methods that we can use in our work.

Our feet and hands are tools, for we use our feet to move about and our hands to do things. Have you never wondered why you have ten fingers and ten toes? When people come together in a joint effort, they form the Ten. When you shake hands with someone you are also forming the Ten. The custom of shaking hands has not come about by chance. Indeed, many of the gestures we make automatically have deep significance. When you meet somebody for a discussion or a meal or to work together, you begin by shaking hands, thus creating a bond between you.

One of the hands represents the One and the other the Zero. If you are both conscious of what this gesture means, each hand will play its role and the result will be an effective harmony. When two people shake hands they are showing the will to understand and get along with each other in order to advance together on the same path. Yes, but this cannot happen unless one hand is invested with positive energy and the other with negative energy. If both hands are One, or both Zero, they will never collaborate harmoniously. Two positive, active hands lead to conflict.

Two passive, negative hands will remain inert and ineffectual. A handshake always supposes that the result will be the Ten, that is, an orderly collaboration in which each one represents Five. They associate with others without paying attention to the lessons of their hands, and the result is conflict and disappointment.

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Let me give you an example of how this principle applies in the realm of education. Say you have a son whom you want to educate. You cannot do this unless you find out what will motivate him to work, that is, unless you discover his Zero, the Zero of his One. You can do nothing for people if you do not know their Zero - which can be a science, an art, a friend, an ambition, or a virtue. This is why people need to be able to choose from a wide range of occupations, occupations that represent possible Zeros which they can penetrate, in which they can be active, and which, in turn, will act on them.

The number Ten teaches us to work with the masculine and feminine principles simultaneously, to be both man and woman, to be, also, both a child and an elder. The elder is the intellect. The child is the heart. To bring these two states together is to achieve the Ten.

A child resembles a Zero. It is flexible, it turns somersaults and rolls about like a ball. An elder is a One, stiff and inflexible. Nowadays, human beings refuse to be like children because they are only interested in preserving their authority, their prestige. But in order to attract love, you have to be a child. And in order to have a balanced relationship with others, you have to be both child and elder - a Ten in action.

It is important to study numbers and to discover the practical methods they teach. Yes, numbers can be helpful, but, of course, it is up to us to learn how to use them. Those who work successfully with the Ten feel rich and fulfilled, for Ten is the number of marriage. But the marriage that is the goal of human aspirations, this union with a being who is the perfect complement to oneself, must first be achieved within oneself. How can one be inwardly married in order to form a Ten? To whom or what must one be wedded? This is the essential question.

Every human being must be married. There must be not a single bachelor, not a single spinster left on earth. And the marriage to which we must all aspire is that of matter and of God within p us, the marriage of our body and our spirit. By bending itself into a circle and joining the two ends. It is this circle that represents matter, the whole universe. There is still a great deal to be said about the One and the Zero. For instance, you can either put the One before the Zero, or the Zero before the One. If you put the One before the Zero, you multiply its power by ten: the 1 becomes But if you do the opposite, you get 01, a tenth of its power, a tenth of its value.

Now, let us transpose this on to the spiritual plane: if you put the Zero - that is, yourself - in first place, and the One - the divine principle - in second place, after yourself, you will be diminishing your qualities and your possibilities of progress. I will always follow you. This is the attitude of truly spiritual people: to give first place to the Lord so as to be ruled and guided by him. This is the true humility taught by initiatic science. When you do this all the Zeros within you line up after the One, thus becoming virtues, riches.

How many people are capable of understanding this truth? The ideas that prevail today urge people to do just the opposite, to put themselves before the Lord - even to take the place of the Lord.

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And when they do this they shrivel and shrink and are reduced almost to nothing. They put too many Zeros in front of the One. The Zero is necessary, you must not do away with it. If you had no Zero, you would have no matter with which to work, and you would achieve nothing. The only thing you need is to be sure to put the One before the Zero; in other words, never to give first place to personal gain, to your own selfish interests.

Put all that in second place and you will sense that you understand things better, that you receive better guidance and protection. The true greatness of human beings lies in understanding that, in spite of all their flaws and imperfections, they can accomplish marvels as long as they give the Lord pride of place in their head and their heart. Without the Lord human beings cannot accomplish very much. Whatever they do will always be human, always mediocre. The whole of this inner endeavour is summed up in the numbers One and Zero. Those who understand this become the Ten. Who needs a God?

We are intelligent beings; the universe belongs to us. The Zero is important, indispensable, in fact, because it is the support of the One, but it must always come after the One. The subject of the One and the Zero is inexhaustible. Let me give you yet another interpretation. Let us say that you are someone who puts feeling first and reflection second, with the result that your actions are guided by impulses and impressions rather than by reason.

Such an attitude not only diminishes the value of your behaviour, your actions, but also makes it more likely that they will end in disaster. I am not saying that you should eliminate feeling. Not at all, because to do so would be to deprive yourself of the riches contained in the material that is there to be fashioned by thought. But you must put reflection in the first place, so as to find the best solutions, the best way to behave. This, then, is what the Ten teaches: we must give reflection priority over feeling. We must not do away with the Zero.

It is extremely useful, for it augments the value of the One. But the Zero is the rearguard, and as such it must be content to come second. No creation of any kind is possible with only one principle.

The two have to be united in a common endeavour. The two principles exist first of all on the higher plane. They are what we call the heavenly Father and the divine Mother, and they are constantly engendering worlds inhabited by countless creatures. On the physical plane the masculine is distinct and apart from the feminine, but on the higher plane masculine and feminine are one. Genesis also says that God created Eve. This is the meaning of that allegory in which God fashions Eve from a rib taken from the side of Adam, an allegory which has puzzled a great many theologians.

Adam is not an individual man and Eve is not an individual woman: they are both symbols. Adam is the masculine principle which engendered Eve, the feminine principle. What does that mean? It means that the primordial principle emerged from its state of extreme subtlety in order to be condensed, and in condensing created another principle, Eve. If Genesis says that Adam was created before Eve, it is because Moses, who was an initiate, knew that the masculine principle always comes first. It comes first because it is the creative principle, it is at the origin of all creation and, consequently, of matter.

Matter is a product of the spirit. Matter is a condensation of the forces of the spirit. This is why, symbolically, the feminine principle always comes after the masculine principle. See how expressive the shape of these two letters is. The Heh is like a receptacle, an inverted cup, while Yod, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is hardly more than a dot, or, more exactly, a sperm, the primary element of a living being.

In the beginning is the Yod, just as in the beginning is a point. A point has no dimension, and it is almost impossible to define it. But the movement of a point produces a line, the movement of a line produces a surface, and the movement of a surface produces a volume - that is, three-dimensional space.

Line, surface, and volume are all born of the movement of a point. Now, if you cause a line to move round the point from which it originated you obtain a circle. A circle and its radius show the union of a straight line with a curved line. The point, therefore, is the source of all figures, and the point in the centre of a circle symbolizes the cosmic spirit which animates the matter of the universe. It is the spirit, Adam, that engenders matter, Eve. Adam and Eve then work together to create children, and their children are all the beings and objects which exist in nature and which are simply the reflection of the two great principles in the world above.

A tree is reflected in a pool of water, and the fact that we can see its reflection below means that it exists above. This very simple image enables us to understand the question of evolution. In order to rise towards heaven, beings must first have descended from heaven, the source and origin of all being. This is true of physical matter.

It is also true of all that exists, including human beings. The theory of evolution advanced by Lamarck and Darwin accounts for only fifty per cent of the reality. Before there can be evolution of matter there is involution of the spirit. Evolutionists see things only from the outside, from the point of view of the organization of matter, and fail to take into account the invisible forces that fashioned that matter in the first place. Evolution is only one half of the process of manifestation. When one studies this half in isolation, one cuts it off from the truth of life and removes it from its rightful place in nature.

You will never prove to me that a process of evolution can exist without being set in motion and sustained by an initial impulse. And, as I say, this impulse comes from above. The initial movement is that of the spirit which descends, and if we see that matter evolves it is because it is being carried upward, back to its source, by the ascending movement of the spirit. But this does not give men a reason to flatter themselves or women a reason to feel belittled. I am talking about the masculine principle, not about men.

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And the myth of original sin is also about principles, not about man and woman as such. God created man, Adam, in his image. Man, being in more direct contact with God, closer to his essence and his light, had the power to transmit to woman forces which she could only receive through an intermediary.

But Eve was so intent on attracting Adam to herself that she forgot that other centre, God, and when Adam and Eve together turned away from God they fell from paradise. As long as Adam kept God at the centre of his existence, he was happy and free and continually learning, and what he learned he transmitted to Eve.

Just as Adam transmitted to Eve what he learned from God, so Eve transmitted what she learned from Adam to the other creatures - animals, plants, and the spirits that belonged to the lower echelons of evolution. It was when Adam turned away from God and turned to Eve that disaster followed, for not only did they both fall, but all those for whom Eve p had been the channel of learning were dragged down with them. They put Heh before Yod.

In other words, they put the feminine principle, matter, before the masculine principle, the spirit. And, contrary to what many people think, it is not by giving the primacy to matter that human beings will be in a better position to solve their material problems. So now you see how the story of original sin must be understood. It is not about a woman called Eve who seduced and brought about the downfall of a poor wretch called Adam - no apologies to those who prefer that interpretation because it justifies their disdain and rejection of women!

No, it is about reversing the proper order of the two principles. By their disobedience they distanced themselves from their Creator, and now they are obliged to try to find their way home again. As I have already said, the entity that we call God is both masculine and feminine, the heavenly Father and the divine Mother. Similarly, every human being created in the image of God is polarized as both masculine symbolized by Adam and feminine symbolized by Eve.

When a human being incarnates he necessarily leaves his heavenly Mother and Father, but even though he is obliged to leave them, he must not sever the ties that bind him to them. His parents have not cast him off, alone and unprovided-for. They have given him the means he needs to remain linked to them, and those means are the soul - which is feminine - and the spirit - which is masculine.

Yes, but the soul and spirit are living entities. They are not inert objects like a link of rope or metal, and in order to remain in touch with the heavenly Father and the divine Mother, a human being has to work with wisdom, the masculine principle, and love, the feminine principle, the two attributes of God from which flow all others. And as attraction exists only between opposite poles, the soul must attach itself to the heavenly Father by working with wisdom, and the spirit must attach itself to the divine Mother by working with love. Our spirit must keep in touch with its Mother through love, and our soul must keep in touch with its Father through wisdom.

It is this contact that enables them to communicate their light to our minds and our hearts. Without this light our minds and hearts would repeat the fault of Adam and Eve. Just as Eve listened to the false promises of the serpent - a terrestrial animal - and convinced her weaker partner, Adam, to follow her example, so a heart that is seduced by promises of material gratification can lead the weaker intellect astray.

The human heart is always stronger than the mind. Adam and Eve can work effectively and well within us only if they are faithful to their Father and Mother, wisdom and love. What is the result if they are unfaithful? Cabbalistic tradition tells us that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was a demon called Samael. When Eve listened to the serpent and chose to abandon her Father, wisdom, and follow Samael, Adam imitated her and, abandoning his Mother, love, followed the female demon, Lilith.

Of course, this story, too, is an allegory. It means that when the heart and mind no longer receive true wisdom and love through the soul and spirit, they fall into the clutches of the powers of darkness. The lesson to be drawn from this allegory is this: we must not abandon our inner heaven, the home of our divine parents. We must remain faithful to our heavenly Father and Mother and not descend to earth, that is, not allow ourselves to be buried in the limitations, cold, and darkness that engulf everything. Heaven symbolizes all that never ceases to germinate, blossom, and ripen.

When human beings abandon their heavenly Father and Mother in the hope of finding happiness elsewhere, the fountain runs dry and their betrayal pitches them into a land of aridity, disharmony, and contention. They abandon their divine Father and Mother - wisdom and pure love - and in their stead they espouse something completely prosaic - material temptations, pleasure, social ambition - and, for the sake of comfort, are ready to accept every kind of compromise.

Time and again, in our own lives, we reproduce the sin of Adam and Eve. Human beings constantly allow themselves to be led into disastrous situations, because instead of following the inspiration of the soul and spirit, their hearts and minds egg each other on to enterprises that are inspired neither by wisdom nor by love. How often one sees people who are lost and confused! Many people are like small children crying for help because they have lost their father and mother in a crowd.

This, then, is the story of Adam and Eve. Adam is not a man and Eve is not a woman, and you must no longer identify all men with Adam or all women with Eve. The story of Adam and Eve is a description of a psychic process that takes place within each human being, whether man or woman. When our mind and heart are no longer linked to our soul and spirit - which are reflections of the cosmic spirit and the universal soul - we are inevitably drawn down into the lower regions.

It is up to us, therefore, to make the effort not to abandon heaven, the Garden of Eden. If we are not very firmly attached to the higher world, the lower world will engulf us. Perhaps some of you will think that all this is very complicated. On the contrary, it is all very simple, very clear. If it seems complicated to you, it is because you are not accustomed to thinking and reasoning in the light of the great universal symbols.

Of course, if you prefer to take this story of a man and woman in a garden with a serpent and an apple at face value, if you think that it is clearer and more helpful to your evolution, I have no objection. You are free to do so.

This is why, in the human body, the region of the mind, the mental plane - which is masculine - is above the region of the heart, the astral plane - which is feminine. In order for the vital currents that nourish the universe to flow harmoniously within us, therefore, the mental plane, our mind, must be turned toward the divine world, and the astral plane, the heart, must be turned toward the mental plane. When the mental faculties turn away from the divine world and become attached to the manifestations of the astral plane, they are no longer in harmony with the universal order and the currents of life cannot circulate as they should.

In every circumstance, intelligence - that is, the powers of thought - must be given priority over feelings and sentiments. Let me show you one more example of how this rule applies. Why do so many people suffer from a lack of psychic equilibrium? It is because they are too impressionable. They are open to every influence, both good and bad, and in the long run they become totally confused. They need to reflect, to study the disparate influences that solicit them and to analyse the effect these have on their inner life, so as to open themselves only to those that are beneficial and to reject all others.

This is just one case in which the masculine principle must come first, and those who are eager to develop mediumistic faculties should be very clear about this, for mediumship is a typically feminine activity, in that it requires receptivity. To be a medium implies that one is receptive to the spirits and currents of the invisible world.

But these spirits and currents are not all luminous, pure, and benign, and those who have not studied and prepared themselves to perceive their true nature, who have not developed the will-power needed to repulse the darker entities, will fall a victim to their wiles. As soon as something difficult or painful happens, they attribute it to black magic - they say that somebody has put a spell on them.

But what do they take themselves for? Do they think they are such important, powerful figures that the whole world has to band together to get rid of them? No, their problem is simply that they are ignorant and vulnerable. They have developed the receptive side of their nature to such a degree, and are so accustomed to dabbling in the sensations and emotions of the astral plane, that they accuse others of being responsible for their problems instead of realizing that they have brought them on themselves. On the other hand, there are those who never think about black magic and who laugh off any mention of it because they do not really believe that it exists.

Well, they are mistaken in thinking that it does not exist, but at least, instead of trembling with fear when they are faced with a difficulty, they react energetically. Unfortunately, it is true: black magic does exist. But you must not allow the fear of it to influence you unduly, for that will only weaken and paralyse you. If you dwell on the idea that people could be working black magic on you, you will attract negative vibrations.

Yes, for weakness attracts bad vibrations and all the dark, negative influences floating in the atmosphere. It is like what happens in an epidemic: if you are vulnerable and receptive, you will catch the infection from others, but if you are strong, healthy, and emissive, you will come through it unharmed. So instead of worrying your heads about black magic, concentrate on becoming stronger. Think of light, work with light, and the light within you will repulse negative influences. A rapidly spinning wheel throws off mud, but if it begins to turn more slowly, mud sticks to it.

If a spring produces a vigorous stream of water, it will wash away all the leaves and twigs that threaten to block the flow. You must become like a spring. Do not let yourselves be psychically lazy. Why do so many human beings take refuge in weakness and sentimentality? Instead of reacting by thinking things out, reasoning, and looking for solutions, they become completely passive. They are like children. Too many adults are like children, forever weeping over their misfortunes. And too many of their ignorant friends, in the belief that they are being helpful, are forever trying to console them.

Henceforth, you must react differently by calling on the masculine principle, the faculties of thought, the mental plane. My advice to you all is not to worry about black magic. Above all, do not believe that you can so easily be attacked by it. If you work mentally to link yourselves to celestial entities, to light, you will be quite safe. In fact, if somebody tried to injure you with magic, they would injure only themselves, for they would receive the backlash.

It is repelled and falls back on the one who sent it. Hold on to this thought, for it will protect you. But if you allow yourselves always to feel weak, vulnerable, and unprotected, you will, indeed, be in danger. There, this is one of the practical applications of the law of the two principles: why and when you should be receptive, why and when you should be emissive.

This means that the two principles are equal. The fact that human beings continually distort the divine reality is quite another question. You will perhaps object that the two principles are not equal, since one necessarily comes before the other.

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No, what you have to understand is that worth or value is one thing and position another. Position is a notion that belongs to the physical, material plane, while worth is a spiritual notion. On the physical plane, even if people are of equal worth, they cannot all be given first place. There is only one first place. Let me give you some examples. Suppose several people have to mount a ladder.

Each rung of the ladder can hold only one person, so even if they are all of equal importance, they have to go up one after the other. If they begin to quarrel, each one claiming the right to go first, they will all stay below. Or suppose you are writing to a married couple. When you address the envelope, you will have to write the two names one after the other - Mr. X, or Mrs. X - and if they quarrel about it, each of them claiming that they should come first, they will never receive their letter. If men and women are always battling for first place, it is because they put the question backwards.

Women complain that men have usurped first place and that this is unfair. This is true, it is unfair, insofar as position is confused with worth. But if the only remedy were for women to do the same and usurp first place for themselves, it would be equally unfair. The question of place or position is secondary; it is worth that has to be considered and respected. Two people or two objects can be equal in worth without occupying the same position. You must accept that other people are placed before or above you, even if their worth is no greater than yours.

If initiates teach that the place of the masculine principle is before that of the feminine principle, it is not because they think that the masculine principle is more important than the feminine principle, but because they bow to cosmic symbolism. Symbolically, the masculine principle represents the spirit and the feminine principle matter. The spirit is subtle and volatile and tends to rise to the higher levels, whereas matter, being heavier, tends to sink to lower levels.

But each needs the other: the spirit needs matter in order to incarnate, and matter needs the spirit in order to be animated. Creation is simply the result of the encounter between spirit and matter. It would not be true to say that the role and the responsibility of the father of a family is more or less valuable than that of the mother. The two are equally valuable, equally important, since both are necessary for the creation of a child. The masculine principle is defined as active and the feminine principle as passive, but the role of passivity is just as important as that of activity.

The masculine principle provides the content, but the feminine principle provides the container, the form, and the power of attraction of form is very strong. If the feminine principle is said to be passive, it is because this distinguishes it from the active masculine principle.

In reality, however, the feminine principle is not inactive; although it appears to be passive, it is extremely effective. Instead of thrusting itself forward in the manner of the masculine principle, the feminine principle draws things to itself. This is its mode of activity, and anything that is incapable of resisting this attraction is absorbed. The masculine mode of activity is more visible but it is not more powerful. To be active is, as it were, to move from the centre towards the periphery; to be passive is to attract the peripheral elements towards the centre.

And even if this attraction is not very visible, it is very real and very effective. What is the rightful place of each element, the masculine and the feminine? One day men and women are going to have to settle this problem, which is a constant source of conflict. For hundreds and thousands of years, the domination of men has laid a burden on women, and now we are beginning to see a reversal of the situation. Women have become bolder: they are no longer willing to be subject to men, but want the same rights as men. They are even ready to take the place of men and assume their role.

This is only normal; it is the law of compensation. Men have gone too far. Instead of being models of integrity, kindness, and justice, thereby earning the esteem and admiration of women, they have abused their authority and their greater physical strength. They have taken all rights and privileges for themselves and given women nothing but duties. How could they expect the situation to last for ever? In point of fact, a woman has a natural need to admire a man, to acknowledge his authority and his strength.

But if he is dishonourable, how can she consider him to be superior? For centuries the revolt of women has been going on inwardly, and today conditions are different. Men are weaker and have lost some important strategic positions, and women have armed themselves well and captured these positions. More and more, women are demonstrating that they are highly capable, that they have qualities of determination, intelligence, and courage.

Why should they always be second in command? If men are not careful, if they refuse to make an effort and improve their ways, women will give them a thrashing that they will not forget for thousands of years to come. The situation will be reversed once more. In the long run, men will react in their turn and take back the power they have lost. The same palaver will begin all over again Until both parties acquire wisdom and recognize that they are truly equal; not equal in the same spheres, but equal in the importance of their respective functions.

Women, being closer to matter, are more realistic and practical; they have more common sense. Men are more at home on the level of thought and abstract ideas, and have a tendency to lose themselves in theoretical considerations that often have little to do with the realities of everyday life. They are fond of discoursing, of elaborating plans of action, but their discourses are often empty words, and when put to the test, their plans of action prove ineffectual.

This is why, very often, when a woman hears a man holding forth, she will either be bored or will laugh at him. The attitude and general behaviour of women is in keeping with their role as mothers. Even a woman who has no children manifests maternal qualities such as devotion, compassion, concern for those who are weaker than herself, and for all living creatures. Just think of how long it takes a man to play his role in the creation of a child. It is done in a few moments, and after that he can forget all about it, forget - or perhaps never know - that he is a father.

But a woman cannot do that. How could she forget, or not know, that she is bearing or has borne a child? And when the child is born, how could she fail to care for the fragile little being? In the meantime, the father of her child may be far away. Whether you like it or not, the temperament of men and women and the way they envisage things are influenced by their respective roles in this act that is fundamental to the perpetuation of life. Neither men nor women should dominate the other.

Rather, each sex should make the effort to dominate their own domain. It is normal for women to want to reclaim the freedom and the rights denied to them by men, but they must try to achieve their goal by intensifying their own innate qualities, not by trying to imitate the behaviour or way of life of men. To do this would be to demonstrate a lack of understanding of the eternal truths, and the penalty would be great. The equilibrium of life is based on polarization, that is, on the existence of two poles between which, because they are different in nature, there can be reciprocity.

If the two poles were uniform, there could be no exchange, none of that magnificent mutuality that is the source of so much joy and inspiration. When men and women lose all sense of the life that exists in this reciprocity between the two poles, they turn to a pharmacist or a psychiatrist for a remedy, but there is no remedy for those who do not understand. The only remedy lies in understanding. When polarity disappears, it is the death of a generation. There can be no spark, no life, if the two poles, the two electrodes, are not clearly distinct.

In every area of creation equilibrium exists because the two complementary forces exist. The solution does not consist in levelling out the differences between men and women - for women to go to war and men to rock the cradle. It is absolutely normal for women to want to enjoy the same freedoms as men, it is normal that they should want to show their capacity for initiative, but they can do so without imitating men, taking their place, or trying to do without them. Freedom, audacity, and a spirit of initiative are qualities that women need to cultivate.

True, but at the same time they must deepen and strengthen the quintessential qualities of the feminine principle. Le serpent de la Genese - 3. The Law of the Backlash. Chapter V: God Transcends Good and Evil From the point of view of initiatic science, the number Two is the result of the polarization of the One, and this means that the two poles, which are so often considered to be antagonists, are, in fact, contained in the One.

We call them masculine and feminine or positive and negative, but we can also call them good and evil, as long as we bear in mind that they are expressions of the One, of God, for they both come from God. The tradition goes on to say that the cup in which Joseph of Arimathea received the blood of the crucified Jesus was carved from this emerald.

It is this cup that has become known as the Holy Grail, a symbol that has played a very important role in the history of Christianity. In establishing this link between Christ and Lucifer, the intention of the initiates was to teach us that good and evil are the two poles of one and the same reality. Every aspect of our life on earth is conditioned by the alternation of day and night. True, but whatever the reason, the fact is that this alternation of day and night, which regulates the whole of nature, also regulates both our physical and our psychic life.

We could not know what light is if darkness did not exist.

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Neither could we know what wisdom, justice, beauty, and joy are if we were not constantly obliged to contend with foolishness, injustice, ugliness, and sorrow. It is by setting things against each other and comparing them that we reach understanding. If opposites did not exist we would live in a state of non-differentiation. Beauty and ugliness, virtue and vice, weakness and strength exist, but it is not the fact that they exist that should concern us.

Our concern should be to learn the proper attitude to the two poles. Instead of this, human beings spend their time wondering why God allows evil to exist. Stop asking such questions. Good and evil are intimately bound to each other; as the two complementary poles of a single entity they have things to do together, and you would be well advised not to get between them and try to separate them. To do so would be like interfering in the intimacy of a married couple.

Even if you do not approve of their relationship, you must never try to separate a man and woman who are attached to each other - neither, indeed, must you interfere in a quarrel between them. Keep your distance! The cars on a highway drive in opposite directions: some one way and some the other. This causes no problem if the road is wide enough and the cars keep to their side.

Should we say that the cars going one way represent evil and those travelling in the opposite direction represent good? No, evil arises only if the road is too narrow and there is a collision. In an absolute sense things are not intrinsically either good or bad; it all depends on the way you look at them. Take the example of fire and water: if you do not know how to deal with them, you can cause a flood or burn your house down, but if you know how to handle them, what a blessing they can be!

What is bad is the ignorance that prevents us from putting each one to good use in its own way or from using both together - and in the case of fire and water, you also have to be able to keep the correct distance between the two, otherwise the fire will be extinguished and the water will evaporate. Let us take another example. The fact that our body produces wastes can be seen as a manifestation of evil, but since the body has this ability to eliminate its wastes, are they really an evil? There would be evil only if the excretory system failed to function.

To be in good health does not mean that the body produces no wastes but that it has the means of getting rid of those wastes. Good, true good, is the harmonious coexistence of two opposite processes. True good is this higher intelligence which conceived the way in which the two processes participate in the conservation of life. As you see, the answers to all the most difficult questions are to be found in the book of nature. Good is sustained by evil, and without realizing it, good, in turn, often sustains evil. Good and evil are both yoked to the wheel of life, and both help to keep it turning.

Evil does not exist in itself. Evil is a good that is not understood. Even the best of things become bad if they are misunderstood. On the other hand, those who understand hell and the devil can make them serve the purposes of good. It is important to learn to use the wicked, for they are hardy and tireless. Nothing would work well on earth if only good people existed. Everything can be useful, therefore, but one has to know how to combine things correctly. Those who fail to understand this spend their time struggling against what they call evil. They do not realize that for every manifestation of evil there is a corresponding reinforcement of good, and that if they succeeded in eliminating evil, they would, at the same time, eliminate the good.

Evil lies only in the lack of light, intelligence, and strength which causes us to become its prey. Evil is a servant of God. It has its role to play in this world, and it is important that we understand it. Have you never read the Book of Job? It says that, one day, the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan was among them. Consider: Satan was among them! He could have been behind or beside them; but no, he was in their midst, as though he had the same standing as the spirits of light.

He is present, therefore, as a son of God, and, in fact, God speaks to him alone - and what a conversation it is! There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face. The rest of the story shows how God uses Satan to further the evolution and elevation of Job. Satan obeys God, for he does only what God allows him to do. The author of this text understood that good and evil are subject to the same higher authority, that they are two currents attached to the throne of God.

In the Sephirotic Tree the throne of God is symbolized by the sephirah Kether. The power that reigns in Kether rules the universe with the help of the two opposing currents that we call good and evil. Thus good and evil are like the two hands of this sephirah - and sometimes one hand slaps the other.

It is impossible to resolve the problem of good and evil on the physical plane, for that which unites these two contradictory forces belongs to a higher plane. We shall never be able to understand them if we look at them from our own level: all we can see from below is that they oppose each other. Our task is to raise ourselves to the level of this higher authority, which is capable of using both in pursuit of a purpose that neither one knows or understands. Good does not know everything.

Neither, of course, does evil. The one who knows everything is above both good and evil: the Lord. My intelligence is so limited that I cannot understand. Please send angels to explain things to me and show me how to behave. Why does religion never talk about this third authority? It always talks about good as though it were one and the same as God. No, both good and evil are no more than servants of God. The fact that we have some slight knowledge of good leads us to think that we know God, but God is more than good.

I repeat, God is far above both good and evil. Just as mental energy and sexual energy are the polarization of the same energy, so good and evil are the polarization of one force. You will perhaps be taken aback by this idea. Is it really possible that mental and sexual energy are two facets of the same energy? Is it possible that the force that causes a brute to attack and rape a woman is identical to that which inspires the most -i sublime creations of the mind? And if you tell me that this idea bothers you, I can only reply that God did not arrange matters in this way for our convenience.

He did so in order to incite us to work.

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I sense that it is extremely difficult to make myself understood when I explain these things, for my explanations turn the generally accepted notions of good and evil upside down. It is as though these old notions were built into the human body. It is impossible to uproot them. But as long as people do not change their point of view they will never be able to enter the temple of the Lord. And how do we usually picture the front of a temple? As two columns surmounted by a pediment which is the link between the column on the right and that on the left.

Symbolically, the pediment is the third force that works with the other two forces. In the same way, our existence is placed between two pillars, and although each exists in its own right, these two pillars must not be separated; they must be ruled by a third principle which is their common link. The pediment of the temple is, as it were, the equivalent of Kether and the central pillar of the Sephirotic Tree. And we find the same symbolism in the wand of the Caduceus of Hermes. The appearance is different, but the central wand plays the same role. Evil consists in attempting to separate the two poles.

But one can equally say that it consists in trying to join them. It is just as bad to bring them too close together as it is to try and separate them. There must always be a certain distance between them. The temple would collapse if the two pillars were joined and welded into one.

And it would collapse just as certainly if they were placed too far apart, or if only one were allowed to remain standing. When spiritualists, in a desire to be absolutely pure in order to approach God, try to expunge everything of a lower order from their lives, they bring down upon themselves every kind of inner and outer catastrophe. And because the things that please some people often displease others - and vice versa - the problem is never solved. You will never get everybody to agree about what good and evil really are. Just as good is not identical with God, so, too, qualities and virtues do not have a value that is absolute.

It is true that many people possess great virtues, but what do they do with them? And then there are others who have all kinds of faults but who are determined to improve, and because they work day after day to perfect themselves, they become capable of great achievements. Perhaps if they did not have so many faults they would never do anything. Yes, it is true. Many people have accomplished great deeds by working to overcome their defects, while those with great gifts are often so self-satisfied that they accomplish nothing.

Well, there is one thing that you must understand, and that is that heaven cares not one jot for what you are; it is only interested in what you do with what you are. And this means that this third authority that knows how to use both our strengths and our weaknesses must be present within each one of us. This third authority is our higher self. The only thing that is really important is the work we do on ourselves so that our weaknesses as well as our strengths may be at the service of a high ideal.

A great many people lament the baseness of human nature which bears within itself the seeds of evil. But it is no good lamenting; the important thing is to work. All your faults - vanity, pride, anger, jealousy, sensuality - must be put to work. This is the only way to look at it, the only solution. You must not worry about anything else; your qualities, like your defects, are secondary. Once you know what the ideal work is and make up your mind to devote yourself to it whole-heartedly, both your defects and your qualities will become excellent servants.

Take one very simple example. If you want to lift something heavy, all the potential energy in your body is mobilized, and muscles, heart, lungs, and brain will all contribute to the act. But if you have no wish to make the effort, all your organs will be demobilized. It is through work that our potential is mobilized. A criminal who works well can become more generous, patient, and kind than the most virtuous of men, while those who are the most highly thought of may end by being defeated because they forget to work.

In conclusion, let me urge you to stop asking why heaven allows evil to exist. Heaven allows everything to exist because it uses everything. And you, too, must learn how to use these two aspects, good and evil, in your work. You must be like chemists, who discard nothing but have learned to use all the substances in their laboratories, even poisons. A laboratory must contain a little of everything.

A chemist can be a model for you. So never try to destroy what is in you; be grateful to God for having created you just as you are, and set to work. What can we learn from this image? That what we call evil, the devil, is simply the reflection, the shadow of God on the material plane. God does not combat the devil.

To say that he does would be to say that he combats himself. How is it that many of the theories and practices of religions that claim to be monotheistic contradict their most basic tenets? They teach that God has an enemy, the devil, who is as powerful as he, as though God were not the only Lord. What can one say of religions whose God has an enemy that he is powerless to defeat?