Olivia Robertson - The Call of Isis Twelve
The Call of Isis
12. Initiation of the Sun.
Before the Psyche may arise beyond duality, she must needs unite with her counterpart called Eros. But the divine union of opposites may only be accomplished by self-giving. And this giving of the self may seem to be a voluntarily dying, to those who identify with body and soul qualities. Death is only an ending to those who call the body 'myself'. So is poor self, dead as it lies in its coffin, a decaying piece of disintegrating matter. But to those who have passed through the Temple of the Moon and know the Psyche, there is no bodily death. They have parted the veil. The difference between the Gods and human beings is that human beings believe that they die. The Gods know that they are immortal.
But there is another sort of dying: the second death. Is it possible to be in love with one's own soul, to be infatuated with one's beauty? This infatuation may be the great dividing barrier that separates human consciousness from the Spiritual Sun. The Psyche is freed from identification with the transient five senses. Then, in love with her own beauty, she gazes deep into the pool of her reflected image, and so falls into a trance of self-love. She may only be awakened by her lover, that spirit of divine fire, Eros.
Facing this second initiation of Light, once again there is the fear of death, of self loss. Here is the error of the soul, which clings to its limited existence from incarnation to incarnation. It is at this level that repetition becomes mechanical: that great art degenerates into platitudes: the saintly consciousness diminishes into that of the Pharisee. For if not replenished by the Spirit, the soul like the body disintegrates. In seeking to prolong her enclosed existence in the realms of the psychic, she only has continuity, not immortality.
We have this ordeal of the soul described in Lytton's 'Zanoni,' where one Adept clings to a limited existence for centuries: the other Adept, Zanoni, gives up time for Eternity. For Eternity has nothing to do with the cycle of time. It is all time, is ever present, and knows no past nor future. It is Now.
Hence if the soul has the courage to take the plunge of losing its limitations, it finds not a loss of consciousness; but Cosmic Consciousness. However, this plunge of self-giving must be an act of faith; for who can know that which has only been described by others? The sacrifice of self-identification seems to imply the loss of personal consciousness. Such a surrender will not come from spiritual ambition: from desire for adepthood. It can only come from the love that transcends all thought of 'me' and 'mine' and spills itself out to the Other, which then becomes 'the Self'.
A session with Roderick well illustrated for me this whole enormous, problem of self-giving, not of the body, but of the soul.
At the beginning of our sessions, Roderick saw the appropriate symbols of the psychic level: the sarcophagus, the cave, the well. Now, nearing the completion of our work together, he came across the White Tower. This was symbol for the aspiring element of air and fire, that pointed skywards away from the lunar world to the domain of the sun itself.
Roderick reported, as he lay in trance, that he was reaching this Tower not as a little boy or as a youth, but as a Knight. I knew then that our sessions were drawing to an end. His aim had been to identify with Sir Percival, and attain the vision of the Goddess of the Moon. This, he hoped would lead to a union with his ideal Princess.
As in his trance he gazed upwards at the Tower, he said he caught a glimpse of a woman's golden hair. He thought that this must be Eloise, the Princess of his dreams. This Eloise had appeared occasionally in his visions in various guises. She bore no resemblance to any girl he had met in this life. In his joust scene in the fifteenth century, she had shown herself as a jolly girl like a milk-maid, with golden curls. During another session, in a seventeenth century drama, she had appeared as a twelve-year old Puritan girl.
It had always been Roderick's avowed end to declare his love to his Princess in one of his visions. Then he hoped to find her in every-day life and marry her. So I was puzzled now, because he seemed to hesitate, to avoid approaching the visionary White Tower. I suggested that he should enter it. But Roderick was never very easy to deal with - in my way. He replied evasively that he was not worthy of Eloise; and preferred to stay on the ground. The Tower was speaking to him, he said, of the glory of endeavour and of honour. But still he would not go near it; and I felt that we would stay like this until supper time, unless I prodded him to do something.
I came out with every cliche I could think of, including the one about faint heart never winning fair lady. I was reminded of our adventure with the dragon. Roderick had refused to look at the dragon, or to fly over it; he had crawled under. But now he had to go up a Tower - or come back. There was no alternative. He said he had no head for heights. Yet he did not want to give up and return from trance.
He knew that this was his great moment. He stood contemplating the situation. I tried my old dream changing method. 'Try and imagine you are inside the Tower,' I suggested.
After a pause, Roderick announced that he was climbing up the Tower from the outside. He would not go in. It struck me that he was viewing Eloise with not much more enthusiasm than he had viewed the dragon. Yet, as he slowly climbed, he said that she was his Heart's Desire. He was a tall fine looking man, and I could picture him spread-eagled outside the tower, tortuously making his way up from loop-hole to loop-hole. Finally, I was relieved to hear that he had reached the top window, and was hanging there with his fingers on the window-sill. He peered in. Eloise was there. She had her back turned to him, he said, and was standing away from the window.
'Good,' I said. 'You are doing well! You have climbed up the Tower, and the Princess awaits you. Enter the room!'
There was a long silence this time. Then Roderick reported: 'I've got one leg over the window-sill!'
'Well, get the other one over,' I said, trying not to sound irritable.
Then Roderick made a remark that has always stuck in my memory. 'I have,' he said, 'a sort of loyalty to my own half-self. She is my other half. But I feel that it is not for me on this occasion to go in. I think perhaps I shall go down.'
This was too much. We had reached the twenty-sixth session. Was all our work for nothing?
'What is Eloise doing?' I asked, hoping she would help him.
'She has turned round,' said Roderick, forgetting himself for a moment. 'She is looking at me.' Then, in a voice of triumph: 'I have climbed into the room!'
But still he felt unable to make any approach, and said he was unworthy. I felt that he was overplaying his humility.
'This,' I said 'is your declared aim, to unite with the Princess! Cannot you speak to her, hold her hand?'
'No,' said Roderick. 'She is too beautiful - too perfect. It is not for me at this present moment. I shall come back at a later date.'
Of course I could have brought him back from trance then. Indeed, if I were to follow to the letter my own policy of letting people choose what they wanted to do, I would suggest the return, Yet I knew within myself that this would have been to fail his true need. He had asked me to help him, and help him I would! Besides, there was Eloise to consider. What if she were not a mere figment of his imagination, but his true twin soul waiting him somewhere on earth?
I wondered what to suggest. I knew that Roderick would not speak nor touch with her hand. Then I remembered that enchantment was said to emanate from a woman's eyes. Yet he would see no danger in that ... I remembered our friend the dragon.
'Look at her in the eyes!' I said.
Now came the climax. I could tell that Roderick had entered into a state of blissful consciousness.
'I do so!' He said. 'I wish I could convey the rapture I feel! Her hair is golden and her eyes are deep blue! She is all that I have hoped for. But strange - her hair changes to red; her eyes have become green ... Now she has raven hair and black eyes. She is all woman: she is a Goddess!'
I was reminded at this point of the speech to Helen of Troy by Faustus in Marlowe's play. But in the case of Faustus an intention had been expressed to destroy another Troy! Roderick had desire for good. So in his case nothing but beauty and peace would come from his unifying experience. He left Eloise, and came down from the Tower, but this time by a winding stairway within it.
I said: 'Now you are a Prince, a Knight - and a man. The vision is ended. Let the power manifest now through you on earth.'
But it is a great deal more difficult to manifest good on earth than in the higher psychic sphere. For one thing, the ideal Beloved may respond to telepathic communion: may project easily into one's dreams. In the higher psychic sphere one is at one's most attractive: kind, loving and beautiful. When one has leamt to control emotion, one is not retarded by bodily discomfort - nor even by lack of money! So when Roderick finally left us, I wondered what would befall him in the mundane sphere of daily living.
A year or so later we met in London, and I asked how he had fared. In many ways he had done extremely well. He had published a successful book on his philosophical theories; on the importance of uniting the elements of Fire and Water, Positive and Negative, within oneself. But, I asked, what of Eloise?
Of her there had been no glimpse. And I could imagine Roderick sitting in a cafe, and for a moment recognising Eloise in the form of a waitress - until she turned round and he faced a stranger. In the street outside, in the din of modern London, might be glimpsed a gleam of golden hair from the top of a bus: the sight of a woman in the distance down a long street. But never Eloise.
What then was the meaning of this pursuit of the ideal? Was Roderick to learn the truth that Eloise was in every woman; and so find ultimate beautitude in a diffused love of all beings? The answer was, I felt, different for each individual. For Roderick, I felt that through this one woman known through many lives he would find salvation. Then, through her, he would love all others. For another sort of man, the Priest, the love of God could come through loving all beings, and then finally manifest through the One. There is the sort of woman who recognises the one in the many: another discovers the many in one man.
Either through devotion to one person, or philanthrophy for the many, Solar Initiation achieves union of the opposites, self and not-self.
To attain the Universal, the stars, one must first transcend duality. It is said that the Master throws no shadow. To clarify this, I once invented a tale of Three Planets. On one planet the people lived beneath a perpetual cloud obscuring their two suns. These two suns of their system shed a diffused light that never faded. These people knew of neither day nor night; bright sunlight or shadows. They lived a respectable if dull routine of existence, feeling neither heat nor cold, and never running to extremes in thought or feeling.
There was a pioneer among these people who managed somehow to gather a group of friends to build a space-ship. Off they went, and reached a planet with entirely different conditions. The people here had one sun only, so at night they were plunged into darkness. Nor had they many clouds; so for the first time our pioneer and his friends saw shadows during the daylight. They observed that the natives of the planet had the peculiar habit of drawing outlines round shadows, whether very long or very short, and then worshipping them as gods and demons!
The natives' philosophy seemed very strange to our pioneer from the grey planet. These inhabitants of the world of light and darkness explained that all life consisted of a battle of opposing forces; one of the light, the other of darkness. To make matters worse, if more exciting, the shadows joined in! The fat little shadows of mid-day were benign and jolly, and helped them. But the long thin shadows of evening were malign and presaged darkness and evil.
Convinced that he had entered a world of madness, our pioneer decided to leave for a visit to a third planet. But his friends would not accompany him. For this third planet shone so brightly, that they took it for a sun. They did not wish to be burnt. So they went home to their own sensible planet, and left the pioneer to his eccentricity.
For his second trip, our friend entered into deep trance, and in this way safely journeyed to the Third Planet. And it was indeed too hot and too bright for a physical body. The inhabitants of the place of light and shade declared our psychic traveller was dead, and burnt his body, their usual funerary custom.
He however ascended in spirit to the Third Planet and found there a world of colour and beauty and people who were self-luminous.
'Ah,' he thought to himself: 'now I know the meaning of the words an old sage at home once repeated to me: 'The Master casts no shadow.' And he looked down at the bright grass and flowers at his feet. And he also cast no shadow.
So it is only by analogy that one may imagine the domain of the Inner Sun. We are given words such as 'building the solar body.' But I feel that the solar body is there for all of us: we have rather to strengthen the rainbow bridge that joins our souls to our Spirit.
How may we do this?
Strangely enough, in this most active area of the Inner Sun, we must at last surrender activity. In order to transcend limitation, we must give up the barriers we ourselves have built in order to protect our own developing originality.
For the surrender to the Light prematurely is to suffer the fate of Semele, and be burnt by too great a glory. One needs, as the earth does, one's protective veil of blue atmosphere, one's shell of personality.
One is encouraged in approaching the Initiation of the Sun, by seeing the bright form of one who has attained the Light. Once I was awakened in the morning by just a vision. Eyes open, heart full of wonder, I saw standing at the foot of my bed a figure made of golden light. He was self-luminous and shone like the sun. And the glory came from love.
Others have had a like experience. And this Solar body also belongs to ourselves our true greater selves, if we will only allow ourselves to be conscious of it.
Yet this consciousness comes from self-forgetting.
The constrictions of self fall away and, like the butterfly we immerge from the chrysalis of what was once our whole world. We are like new-born babies when we first awaken into Cosmic Consciousness. We lose nothing; rather we gain the harvest of many lives. We touch on the experiences of our own spiritual group.
We have the Universe before us - Temple of the Stars.
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Text presented on this site as it appears in the 1975 edition.