Thoughtline  November 1998

Take the Best, Leave the Rest by F. Lee Thompson
Choosing the Right Path in Times That Try Men's Souls by Jeriel Smith

Some key characteristics of the current sign—Scorpio

Take the Best, Leave the Rest

There is an old familiar saying: "All that glitters is not gold." Most certainly that is true along the spiritual path. One of the lessons I have learned is the obvious one that just because someone is knowledgeable about certain things spiritual does not mean that I should accept virtually everything they say – everything they teach. On the other hand, if the teacher I am listening to is a Master and I feel I can trust everything He says, it does not necessarily follow that everything He teaches is of value to me at my particular stage of spiritual development.

Another expression we are familiar with is, "Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water." It is my observation that people often do "throw the baby out with the bath water" in their thinking – yes, even esotericists and others we think of as more spiritually aware.

We are all keenly aware that we are in a time of transition from one age to another. The temptation is to look forward, not inappropriately, to the new age. We turn our backs on the Piscean and face toward the Aquarian. I have, however, noted something that seems to be popping up in the discussion of my esoteric friends and acquaintances: expressions like, "That is so-o-o-o Piscean," or "We need a more Aquarian approach to that problem or project," etc., or "That was part of the old Piscean way of doing things," etc., etc. The connotation is that things Piscean and things astral are less than desirable and we want to get away from them, or at least diminish their impact on our brave new Aquarian world. The point I’m leading to is that there seems to be a prejudice, however subtle, about things Piscean. Make no mistake about it: I have been guilty of using the same biased language.

Forgive the personal reference but the reason I have become so aware of what I perceive as a bias against things Piscean is because I am personally part of a very Piscean tradition. I am a minister ordained in the Christian faith, albeit as a New Thought, Metaphysical minister. I have been through a ministerial school where I was taught how to do such Piscean things as the Christian Sacraments. I am fascinated with, and study passionately, and teach with enthusiasm what some deem the old Piscean book called the Holy Bible.

I deem myself to be an esotericist in training. I hold the same interest in reading and understanding The Rays and the Initiations or Discipleship in the New Age as I do in reading and interpreting the books of Ezekiel or Ecclesiastes. I am in a position to see into both traditions – the time-honored Piscean, Christian tradition and the time-honored occult or esoteric teachings that have in recent time been moving into the limelight from the underground of the past. I hail that occurrence and celebrate it.

The Apostle Luke quotes the Master Jesus as saying:

For there is nothing covered, that will not be revealed; nor hidden, that will not be known.

Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light; and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

With new knowledge and new understandings, mankind is awakening. We, as individual aspirants, are having more and more revealed to each of us. We are eager to reach out for that light of knowledge which is being shown to us, to expand our understanding of who and what we are – of our place in the scheme of things. As we hear in the light what was formerly spoken in the dark, as it is proclaimed on the housetops, let us not become so enamoured of these new and dazzling truths that we turn our backs on the verities of the past. As we throw out the bath water of glamour and illusion, let us not throw out the babe of past-but-eternal truths. We need to take the best and leave the rest.

When I teach a bible class, I tell my students to learn the scriptures discerningly. It is my personal position that there is error in the Bible – the hand of man has corrupted parts of this magnificent and inspired collection of documents. Nonetheless, the Bible is still one of the most magnificent documents in the world. The depth of wisdom and knowledge available in it is incredible. So, I tell my students to read discerningly, or, in other words, take the best and leave the rest.

That advice applies to any form of spiritual study. Even the Tibetan, in each of the books he is responsible for, has cautioned us to not gullibly accept what he teaches. He says:

The books that I have written are sent out with no claim for their acceptance. They may, or may not, be correct, true and useful. It is for you to ascertain their truth by right practice and by the exercise of the intuition. Neither I nor A.A.B. is the least interested in having them acclaimed as inspired writings, or in having anyone speak of them (with bated breath) as being the work of one of the Masters. If they present truth in such a way that it follows sequentially upon that already offered in the world teachings, if the information given raises the aspiration and the will-to-serve from the plane of the emotions to that of the mind… then they will have served their purpose. If the teaching conveyed calls forth a response from the illumined mind of the worker in the world, and brings a flashing forth of his intuition, then let that teaching be accepted. But not otherwise. If the statements meet with eventual corroboration, or are deemed true under the test of the Law of Correspondences, then that is well and good. But should this not be so, let not the student accept what is said.

Clearly what the Tibetan is telling us is that we must study his teachings with discernment and not accept them blindly. As I have heard a fellow aspirant say many times, "Blind faith simply leaves one blind." In this case, my advice to myself is to take the best I am able and leave the rest for later.

The Tibetan is not the only Master who teaches discernment. Madame Blavatsky quotes the Buddha this way:

THE LORD BUDDHA HAS SAID that we must not believe in a thing said merely because it is said; nor traditions because they have been handed down from antiquity; nor rumors, as such; nor writings by sages, because sages wrote them; nor fancies that we may suspect to have been inspired in us by a Deva (that is, in presumed spiritual inspiration); nor from inferences drawn from some haphazard assumption we may have made; nor because of what seems an analogical necessity; nor on the mere authority of our teachers or masters. But we are to believe when the writing, doctrine, or saying is corroborated by our own reason and consciousness. "For this," says he in concluding, "I taught you not to believe merely because you have heard, but when you believed of your consciousness, then to act accordingly and abundantly."

Okay, we get it. We are to accept only that which can be corroborated (a word used by both the Tibetan and the Buddha) by our experience, rightly interpreted, and consciousness. By that process we learn to take the best and leave the rest.

There are two levels at which one can hear that little slogan:

  1. It can mean to simply take what is good (the best) and leave what is bad (the rest). That’s quite simple.
  2. It can also mean to take what you can assimilate at this point in your spiritual development (the best) and leave that which you are not yet able to comprehend (the rest).

The first definition is that which should be kept versus that which should be thrown away. The second definition suggests that all of it is good but only part of it is presently useable. Therefore, what we can define as "the best" we accept, because we can understand it right now. The rest, hopefully, we will be able to understand later. Many of us who are Bailey students commonly take the stance that when we don’t understand the full depth of what the Tibetan is telling us it is due to our shortcoming, not the Tibetan’s. We tend to trust that there is truth and wisdom there that we simply aren’t able to comprehend because the right spiritual or mental equipment is lacking on our part. So, when I read the Bailey writings I take the best I can at that moment and leave the rest for another, higher turn on the upward spiraling path.

In reference to the past Age and the new Age, it is interesting to note what the Tibetan explains of the relationship of the signs of Pisces and Aquarius, when he says:

The sign Aquarius is … a dual sign and signifies two vibrations. It is here that its relation to Pisces emerges, for just as Pisces on the wheel of illusion, the Mutable Cross, stands for substance and bondage, in Aquarius, substance and the anima mundi or imprisoned soul begin to work in mutual tolerance, and in the higher Aquarian individual, soul and spirit are expressing themselves through substance. There is … an astrological relation between the band of stars in the constellation Pisces, which unites the two fishes, and the quality and nature of Aquarius which relates and binds together into one working and synthetic whole. The Aquarian recognizes the bond which holds all together subjectively and in truth, whilst in Pisces the energy of relationship constitutes an imprisoning band which confines and holds captive. Think this out. It is an error to consider the margin of contact between two signs in the passage of the Sun to be in the nature of hard and fast frontiers or set boundary lines. Such is not the case. There are no rigid lines of demarcation separating two entirely different areas of experience and consciousness upon the solar path. It only appears to be so and this itself is part of the Great Illusion.

As we move across that boundary that fades from the Piscean Age and into the Aquarian Age we must use the first definition of "take the best and leave the rest" as our criteria. That is, we must know what to keep and what to throw out. We must discern the baby from the bath water.

It then behooves us to establish what is the good, the true, the beautiful of Pisces to assist us in determining what to take with us on our Aquarian journey. I have made a list of some of those things and qualities I think we should take with us.

First, what about the Bible? If it is such a Piscean document, should we phase it out over the next two or three centuries, or even sooner? Should we focus only on teachings such as that of the Tibetan and any other new teachings that come down the Aquarian pike?

My response is that we certainly need to acknowledge and embrace the new expanded teachings and truths revealed in this new age. However, I think we would definitely be throwing out the baby if we ignored the Bible. The Tibetan refers to the Bible and interprets it a great deal. My understanding of the Bible has been immensely deepened and broadened because of the Tibetan’s comments on and explication of things biblical.

Another point is that, contrary to the popular concept of the Bible being only for the Piscean Age, it, like the Christ, is for two ages. I assert that the Bible was written for the Piscean and the Aquarian Age. When I am on this particular point, I am fond of pointing out that place in the New Testament when Jesus’ disciples ask him where he would like to eat the Passover. His response is to send two disciples and gives them these marching orders:

Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.

And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the good man of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples?

The discerning Bible student would ask, "Why were two men sent, not just one?" And why a pitcher of water? It was a common thing in that society for people to carry pitchers of dry and liquid substances of all sorts. Water in the Bible typically symbolizes emotions – a pitcher of which could represent contained or controlled emotions. What zodiacal sign do we know of a man with a pitcher of water? Might one think of the sign of Aquarius? One might. Might one see two men as representing two ages – perhaps the Piscean and the Aquarian Ages? One could. The two men sent are Peter and John (Luke 22:7-13). Peter represents faith and John represents love – two qualities appropriate to any age. The man with the pitcher of water is to be followed, in other words he was ahead of them. The Aquarian Age is ahead of us. We are to follow the man into "wheresoever he may go in."

The second Piscean contribution is that of the "savior" concept. Christianity, as the major Piscean religion, gave us the concept of salvation. In 2,000 years, that concept has evolved from that of a childish obedience to authoritarian theology with a belief in a divine personal messenger sent from God to save those who accept Jesus as their personal savior to the understanding that mankind’s salvation must come primarily from itself. For if the message of Jesus the Christ is read through Aquarian understanding it becomes clear that Jesus did not say that He, personally, is going to save us. Rather He promoted the idea that, if we follow Him and the truth with which He presents us, we can and will save ourselves.

It has dawned slowly on mankind that it must save itself from its own warlike habits. Further, man must save his environment from his own selfish tendency to use it for his self-interest and personal desire. Advanced thinkers of the race have gotten very clear that mankind must be its own savior – indeed with the help and guidance from the Masters and the Christ – not the least of which being the Master Jesus.

The third Piscean gift is the concept of responsibility for each other. It shows up most prominently as what is known in Christian circles as The Great Commission. It reads like this:

Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'' Amen.

As is the way of man, The Great Commission manifested in various appropriate and inappropriate ways. The concepts of love and forgiveness were spread with missionary zeal across the land. Responsibility for our fellow man showed up first in Cain’s question: "Am I my brother’s keeper?" It evolved into the understanding that we are responsible for "saving" our brother. A terrible distortion, I believe, of this was that of the Crusades. Another was that of what Kipling and others wrote of as "The White Man’s Burden" – that arrogant concept that the white man must care for and be responsible for the non-white races of the world. It showed up through the filter of selfish pursuits when the European marched onto the North and South American continents and began to "save" the native Americans by persecuting them and destroying their culture in favor of what was perceived as a superior "Christian" culture. The atrocities committed in the name of Jesus Christ are there in the history books, therefore I won’t dwell on that any further. The positive that, I believe, came out of the concept of responsibility for each other was not that we are our brother’s keeper, but the understanding that we are our brother.

The fourth thing the Piscean dispensation gave us is the concept of renunciation. Again, the Master Jesus sounded the note of renunciation when he said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." History records a long list of martyrs. Some experienced a forced renunciation by being burned as heretics and witches. The idea behind burning was to kill the ungodlike aspects of human nature. It was an accepted practice at one time in the early church to attempt to liberate the spirit by torturing the body. It was how one expiated one’s sins. These, of course, are misuses of this concept, but the fundamental concept of renunciation came into its own during the Piscean Age. St. Frances of Assisi, who from wealthy playboy brought himself to a vow of poverty so that nothing could distract him from his spiritual awareness, stands as a prominent example.

The fifth gift from the Age of Pisces is that of increased psychic sensitivity. Mystics, both East and West, were rampant on the spiritual scene. From mysticism it was an easy step to the acceptance of extrasensory phenomena. This concept is so well-accepted now that you can declare to almost anyone that "everyone is psychic to some degree," and you will probably not receive an argument.

In a Thoughtline of 1963 Marguerite Rompage wrote about that sensitivity with this comment:

Sensitivity can be directed. Sensitivity to invisible worlds can be made to serve the most practical purposes. As the Aquarian influence proceeds to channel Fifth Ray energy into the minds of men, the higher varieties of psychic sensitivity can be organized and scientifically applied to finding solutions for urgent world problems. Sensitivity to ideas, sensitivity to the Plan, sensitivity to the guiding light — all these are varieties of Piscean insight, sacrificed (made sacred) to the highest purpose.

The sixth gift from the Piscean consciousness is that of loyalty to groups or ideas. One was loyal to one’s religion, one’s beliefs, one’s ideals, one’s church, one’s country or one’s ethnic group. After all, the sixth ray of dedication was in the forefront of men’s thinking. This is the concept of loyalty to something greater than one’s self. The distortion of that was that of the fanatic. Again, the history books are filled with the exploits of the fanatics of the world.

The seventh gift was one of social responsibility. It sprang automatically from the concept of loyalty and, when mixed with the concept of love of one’s neighbor, it came out as a duty to care about and participate in one’s community. Again the Master Jesus set the tone for that concept with his statement, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…."

The distortion of this gift is that of the separative attitude of regionalism. I recently suggested in one of my guest speaker sermons at a particular church that the day is fast approaching when we will think of ourselves not as exclusively American citizens, but as Americans in the context of world citizenship. After church, the husband of the senior minister of that church made it clear that I was wrong. He said, "I am an American first and I will always be an American first." I had to think about that for awhile until I surmised that his nationalist attitude probably comes out of the belief that being a world citizen and an American are mutually exclusive. Next time I talk to him, I will explain how it can be that one can regard oneself as a world citizen and, without conflict, be loyal to the country of which one is affiliated by birth or choice.

These are seven things I have identified as gifts we need to take with us:

  1. The Bible and its wisdom;
  2. the understanding that mankind must be its own savior;
  3. the understanding that we are not our brother’s keeper, rather we are our brother;
  4. The value of renunciation;
  5. Increased psychic sensitivity;
  6. Loyalty to that which is greater than ourselves.
  7. The acceptance of social responsibility.

As we have seen, each of them has its negative aspect. This is where we invoke the adage take the best and leave the rest. In these past two thousand years we have had to allow both the positive and the negative, the true and the untrue to flourish – much like Jesus spoke of in his parable of the tares. Tares are a plant that is kind of mock wheat. It was credited among the Jews with being degenerate wheat. The seeds, like false doctrine, are poisonous. Jesus said:

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.

So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’

He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’

But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.’

‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.'' '

The new age has been conceived, but the labor pains of giving birth are still ahead. We have reached the point where we must prepare for this new energy of the next 2,000 plus years by separating the tares from the wheat. In other words, we must take the best and leave the rest.

F. Lee Thompson

Libra, 1998

Choosing the Right Path
in Times That Try Men's Souls

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

With just cause, the quintessential American patriot and pamphleteer, Thomas Paine, described the era in which the American Colonies sought and gained their independence from England as "the times that try men's souls." The impetus for this talk, on the eve of the full moon in the solar month of Libra, 1998, is the idea that this description is equally apt for our own time in terms of humanity gaining independence from our basic "animal" nature and preparing for the Reappearance of the Christ and humanity’s entry, as souls, into the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is appropriate that we consider such a transition in Libra, given its place at the halfway point in the zodiacal cycle of the planetary year. As we are told in The Pilgrimage of Necessity:

The pilgrimage comes to a temporary pause in Libra. This is the interlude similar to the quiet listening in meditation – an interlude between two activities. The past is assessed, the way ahead is pondered. Libra is the Will-to-Express in perfect harmony both the life of form and the life of Spirit. The crisis of reorientation is presented, the first real vision of the Path appears and the goal and purpose of the pilgrimage may be glimpsed for the first time.

The predominant theme of Libra is that of balance, usually represented by the balance scale, in which a thing is weighed by placing it on one side of the scale and balancing the other side of the scale with equal weights of a known value. It is for this quality that the scales are the traditional symbols of trials, law and justice. In a broader sense, the symbolism of Libra includes the equality of two options or directions in any given situation; under its influence, human beings are given opportunity to choose between two equally available options, balanced by a necessity to exercises human judgment wisely when making choices in times of crisis. Libran balance is as well-described by a crossroads, or a "Y" in the road of life, where two directions diverge into the future. The Path of Discipleship is not so much "the straight and narrow" as it is a series of such intersections.

Although we are used to thinking about Libran choices in terms of such dualities, or twos, passages along the Path of Life tend to be marked by milestones which often come in threes. The significance of threes to the Libran concept of balance should no more surprise an esotericist than a geometer or a carpenter. A geometer will assure you that two points are sufficient only to determine a line, while at least three points are necessary to define a plane; and as any carpenter will attest, a surface, such as a table, is stable only if it is supported at a minimum of three points. I will leave for another time my comments on the coincidences that Jesus was a carpenter and the Masonic Brothers who played so vital a role in founding the United States referred to God as the Supreme Architect, or Geometer, of the Universe. It is also interesting and relevant that the G that appears in the center of the Masonic emblem between the overlapping triangles of the compass and the rule, stands for both God and Geometry – but my subject this evening is not masonic symbolism, it is about the necessity of making choices along the path of life and the need for courage and judgment in passing the trials of the human soul.

I would like to suggest an interesting interplay between these Libran twos and the threes. It has been my observation that most basic choices tend to be dualistic, like the choice between two directions; while progress in the chosen direction tends to be in stages which often follow a three part pattern. The initial choice is illustrated in the familiar and much beloved poem by Robert Frost, the concluding lines of which I used to open this talk. The entire poem reads:


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This poem is rich with spiritual significance, as it urges the human spirit to diverge from the tried and tested directions of the past and to have the courage to strike out in a new direction, toward an unknown but deeply sensed destiny that will make "all the difference." This is the kind of choice that the American colonies faced during Thomas Paine’s lifetime. The safe and tested choice would have been to stick to the road of old loyalties by remaining subjects of the Mother Country; certainly there was much security and many benefits in remaining part of the greatest empire the world had known to that time, even if the price was submission to high taxes and the other tyrannies which were very real then, even if they are now distant memories recalled, if at all, from our high school history classes. Revolution, on the other hand, was much more than just an untried choice; it was a road fraught with great hardships and real life and death dangers. It would take a war to break away from King George; and if the war had been unsuccessful, those we remember today as the patriotic founders of our country would have been hanged as traitors. It was with such stakes in mind that Paine boldly urged his fellow colonists to risk everything on taking the untried road to freedom together. Only by a united effort, he told his fellow citizens in his pamphlet, The American Crisis, could they gain not only their freedom, but also even greater benefits beyond their present imaginings. Moreover, the fact that the odds were against them could be seen as a measure of the triumph to be gained:

These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

Much of the progress of humanity towards our shared spiritual destiny can be viewed in terms of three sequential stages. This is, of course, a simplification, but I believe it is one which is of benefit to our ability to conceptualize certain ongoing processes in order that we may better understand what is happening to us and more effectively participate. For example, one of the most basic precepts of human rights came out of the War for American Independence — the notion that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Indeed, this idea was so radical at the time that Thomas Jefferson, the author of The Declaration of Independence, and one of the leading legal minds of the era, could not cite a single legal precedent for this bold statement; instead, he was required to assert that: "We hold these truths to be self-evident...."

Thomas Paine did not share the distinction of signing The Declaration of Independence. Thomas was self-educated, a failure at several trades who had become a colonial exciseman, or tax collector. He was delegated to Parliament in 1772 to seek a raise for himself and his fellow excisemen. In London, he met Benjamin Franklin, who sent him to Philadelphia with letters of introduction. While working there as an itinerant journalist, in the fall of 1775 he was introduced to Dr. Benjamin Rush, a prominent physician and closet revolutionary who had intended to write a pamphlet urging his fellow colonists to commit to independence, but hesitated out of fear for the personal consequences. In his autobiography, Dr. Rush recounted putting Paine up to this vital but dangerous task: "I suggested to him that he had nothing to fear from the popular odium ... for he could live anywhere, but that my profession and connections ... forbade me to come forward as a pioneer in that important controversy." The result was Paine’s first pamphlet, Common Sense, addressed to "ye that love mankind!" It was published on January 10, 1776 and eventually sold over one-half million copies. His inspiring words, and the fact that they sold over 120,000 copies in only three months, were among the factors that encouraged Dr. Rush to join 54 other prominent colonists who publicly signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Self-evident or not, the spiritual principle of human equality stated in The Declaration did not equate to political reality at the time; nor did equality before God become a civic reality by the fact that the Americans won their war of independence and founded a new nation based upon this exalted concept. This point was eloquently made eighty seven years later by President Lincoln as he tried to explain to a war weary nation why it was necessary to fight a great civil war in order to end institutionalized slavery and move the next significant step toward actualizing America’s foundational ideal that all men are created equal. Then, after that "Second American Revolution" had been fought and won, it would be another century before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's and the Women’s Liberation Movement that followed extended more meaningful political and social equality to racial minorities and women in America.

This historical example follows the three part sequence to which I earlier alluded, keeping in mind that there were other important stages and that the third was in no way a conclusion, but only a stabilizing third stage which solidified an ongoing process and made its eventual realization inevitable. In this sense, the American Revolution in the Eighteenth Century, the Civil War in the Nineteenth Century and the Civil Rights Movements in the Twentieth Century roughly parallel the pattern of those stages of human soul awareness which esotericists refer to as the first three Spiritual Initiations. In each case, the first stage is a recognition of some great principle or insight; the second stage involves a commitment or dedication to its eventual expression or realization; and the third stage marks a point at which that realization has become so indelible in human awareness that the process cannot be reversed but must, inevitably, come to full fruition.

Thus, the spiritual initiations are, literally, tests of the human soul and their passage marks a milestone on the Spiritual Path. A natural part of human spiritual development, the process begins with the human being unaware of his or her true spiritual nature. Indeed, the "First" Initiation occurs as a recognition by the individual human being of its true nature as a soul — a divine spiritual being. This is the aspirant’s first step upon that less traveled road, the Spiritual Path. The Second Initiation marks a commitment by the individual whereby he or she becomes dedicated to the process of soul unfoldment and the steady subordination of the personality to the service of the soul.

The Third Initiation marks the point along the Path at which the soul infusion process has so taken hold that the now fully integrated personality has become a willing instrument of the soul. This is by no means the final Initiation nor is it the end of the process of soul testing; rather, the Third Initiation is the first of a new series of three more spiritual stages which include the Forth and Fifth Initiations. Indeed, there may be and probably are further stages in the unfoldment of spiritual evolution on the cosmic scale, but these are so far beyond the present comprehension of human beings, most of whom are busy working on the Second and Third Initiations, that there is no point in our thinking about them until we are much farther along in our progress upon the Spiritual Path. Perhaps when we have completed the Third Initiation, human consciousness will be so transformed that we will comprehend the nature of these future steps.

I am one of many who see the United States of America as a project of the Hierarchy, an unfinished work in progress, to bring forth on the world stage the spiritual principles of human equality and freedom. In the metaphor of the Path, the United States is a group disciple, a world server undergoing initiations on behalf of humanity. Each choice America has made upon its path of service has been inspired by men and women who have helped carry forth the Hierarchy’s Plan toward an ever fuller reality. In addition to men of true renown, like Jefferson and Lincoln, the work has been carried on by countless men and women, some of whom became famous, but vastly more of whom have not become so well-known, but whose efforts were nonetheless vital to the success of this "service project" undertaken by the self-selected few on behalf of all of humanity. Notoriety is a matter of no consequence to the server, while lasting fame is often no reflection of a server’s prominence at the Libran moment when he or she is called upon to help choose a direction of historical significance to humanity. His prominence at the critical moment made Dr. Rush fear to take the lead, while the unknown, Thomas Paine, boldly chose the path to glory.

Extending this historical analogy to the path of initiation suggests a further three-phase process in which the American ideals of freedom and equality will work itself out on a worldwide scale. In that sense, the three milestones of the American Revolution, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement represent only the first stage of an analogous process which is to be continued upon a planetary scale. The intended result of this process is succinctly expressed in the Latin motto of the United States: E Pluribus Unum. In English, this translates: "From many, One" and stands for the concept of multiple political states, such as the original 13 American colonies becoming a single integrated nation, the United States of America.

The passage of the USA’s first three initiations is demonstrated by the fact that ours is a single country, made up of fifty "sovereign" states, which spans the entire continent of North America. The fundamental principle upon which this endeavor is based is the concept of federalism — a form of political organization in which there are successive layers of inter-related governmental institutions with specific spheres of sovereign responsibility. In the United States, we have the Federal Government, with responsibility for issues of national significance; fifty separate State Governments, with a wide range of regional functions; and a variety of county and city institutions who are responsible for many other local functions. Upon completion of this Hierarchical project, of which the success of federalism in the United States of America was only the first phase, e pluribus unum will eventually describe a global network. If the formation of the United States was stage one, it appears that formation of the United Nations (after a couple of tries) is stage two in this ongoing process. The third stage, in process already, will result in a true world federation of inter-dependent nations.

We hear intimations of this future in many references to a "New World Order" — which means different things to different people; but which, when it comes into being, will mark the culmination of a process of world unification and the beginning of a time in which it will become possible, at long last, for the emergence of a whole new way of human beings living together in peace and prosperity. Of course, the prospect of a truly worldwide New Order, while inspiring to many, is equally frightening to others. Yet, we stand at that crossroads now; and for humanity as a whole, world federation represents a road which we have not traveled before. We may expect that this momentous choice will involve yet another time that will try men’s and women’s souls. We are already seeing that the greatest resistance to world federation comes from the United States itself, which is seen by many as having the most to risk and the least to gain. It is a choice that will eventually have to be made and, we may rest assured, one that will make all the difference.

I would like to consider two more three-part historical sequences which, in our times, are reaching the critical third phase in a long human pathway towards globalization: one involving the globalization of human thought and the other involving globalization of the human soul.

The invention of human writing occurred some five millennia ago and marked a significant beginning in the ability of human beings to communicate with one another on a wider scale and to make a record of thoughts and ideas which would allow succeeding generations to build upon the mental progress of their forebearers. Still, for many centuries, every copy of any writing had to be made by hand, which severely limited the distribution of ideas to a few individuals and over a very limited geographical area. The first big breakthrough of these barriers came only about five centuries ago, with the invention of moveable type and the printing press. Among the results of that breakthrough in the Western world were the explosion of cultural advances known as the Renaissance and the re-examination of religious principles that led to the Reformation. A new era of exploration was opened up and the discovery of the North and South American continents — the "New World" of that time — soon followed. As indicated by my earlier references to the political pamphleteering of Thomas Paine, the printing press played a vital role in the American Revolution and printed matter has, until recently, remained the primary engine of political discourse.

In the middle of the last century the telegraph was invented and before the turn of the century, the telephone. These only became significant internationally during this century, which has also seen the birth of the first truly global media — radio and television. Television, which made it possible for people all over the planet to actually witness events on a worldwide scale, has come into being only within the past fifty years, in the lifetimes of most of us gathered here this evening. If the printing press represents the first great step forward in mass human communications, these electronic media collectively represent a second major stage in their globalization which has truly taken effect with the advent of satellite technology. The third stage of this process, which is now in full swing, is the development of the Internet and the worldwide web of computer communications. What this will end up looking like in another century is hard to say, but one thing that is already a fact is that, for the first time, human beings can communicate with one another all over the planet, directly and immediately, without the sponsorship or permission of their governments. The genie of worldwide communications is now out of the bottle and it is reasonable to expect that this will, in ways impossible to predict or to control, fuel humanity’s progress toward a truly global New World Order.

Just as the printing press led to the Reformation in Europe, the globalization of human communications will inevitably impact world religion, leading the way toward what esotericists call the New World Religion. It is important to remember, when talking about this subject, that the New World Religion is something fundamentally different than the existing world religions, most of which were founded during the five hundred year periods before and after the advent of the "Common Era" often called the "Christian Era" in the West. The oldest of the major religions still being practiced is probably Judaism, which, as a religion, dates back to Moses and the Ten Commandments in the 13th Century B.C.; while the newest, Islam, dates to the Prophet Mohammed, who is believed to have died in 632 A.D. The New World Religion will not replace the existing traditional religions, or even seek to covert their followers as the traditional religions (especially Christianity) have often attempted to do with one another’s followers. Rather, the most basic and revolutionary precept of the New World Religion will be a recognition that Universal Truths are, and always have been, expressed through all of humanity’s traditional religions. Just as all human beings are created equal and soul endowed, all spiritual paths that are sincerely and persistently followed will lead to knowledge and experience of our Universal Creator.

In this light, let us consider one more three-stage process of human development that bears acknowledgment here: the first stage of which was the founding of the world’s extant religious traditions; the second stage of which was the appearance of the Christ approximately two thousand years ago in Palestine and of His Co-worker, the Buddha, some four centuries earlier in India; and the third stage, called by esotericists "the Reappearance of the Christ" for which preparations are now being made. Once again, it is important to note that the use of the term "Christ" is not meant to refer exclusively to the return of Jesus in accordance with a variety of Christian expectations. Rather, the term "The Christ" refers to The World Teacher and, in keeping with the concept that there is a fundamental Truth underlying all religious faiths, anticipates the Coming One who, under a variety of names, has long been expected by most of the world’s religious faithful. In this sense, the "reappearance" includes the appearance of the Messiah as expected by the practitioners of Judaism, who do not recognize Jesus as having fulfilled that expectation in Palestine, as well as the so-called Judgment Day expected by both Christians and Muslims. Esotericists are not bound to any specific concept of the form by which the Reappearance will occur. In fact, many believe that it will not involve an individual "savior" at all, but will manifest by a "birth of Christ Consciousness" in the awareness of all human beings. Rather than personal acceptance of Jesus as a savior, Christ Consciousness is a soul experience of God Immanent within all human beings.

Regardless of the form it will take, the most important work for humanity at this time is to prepare for the Reappearance of the Christ. This does not involve religious "conversion" of any sort, nor does it require making esotericists of a greater portion of humanity. It does not require anyone to forego the practice of their own chosen religion or to engage in anyone else’s religious rites. It does involve breaking down all barriers — religious, political, ethnic, economic and cultural — which prevent all men and women from accepting that they, we, are truly brothers and sisters who, as souls, are equal in the esteem of a Universal Creator. Once again, this is much easier to say than it will be to accomplish. Overcoming, on a worldwide scale, the resistance of those who fear taking this less traveled road will, of necessity, try the souls of all humanity. By its very nature, acceptance cannot be imposed by force; it must be accomplished by thoughtful reasoning and the inspiration of courageous example. If we are to succeed, a vital role needs to be played by planetary patriots who can, using the Internet, reason with their fellow human beings to take the risk and inspire them to defy the odds, in much the same way that Thomas Paine reasoned with and inspired Americans in his revolutionary pamphlets two hundred years ago.

After all, if all men and women are created equal, and if we are, in fact, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then this is a cause worthy of committing our souls to the most severe of trials. To paraphrase Thomas Paine, we should fully expect that, once again: the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this world crisis, shrink from the service of humanity; but all who stand it NOW, will deserve the love and thanks of men and women. The Kingdom of Heaven, like universal brotherhood among all people and all nations, will not be easily gained; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph!

Jeriel Smith

Libra, 1998

Some key characteristics of the current sign—Scorpio

Kind of Energy:




Purifies by fire

Interplay of Opposites: Impulsing Energy (indicated by Sun’s position at full moon—Scorpio):

Purificatory tests

Effect upon Force Field (indicated by Moon’s position at full moon—Taurus):

Release light via speech

Rays & Rulers


Exoteric Ruler


Esoteric Ruler


Hierarchical Ruler










( ) veiled planet



Some key characteristics of the sign—Sagittarius

Kind of Energy:




Reaches goal

Interplay of Opposites: Impulsing Energy

(indicated by Sun’s position at full moon—Sagittarius):

Exerting toward goal after goal

Effect upon Force Field

(indicated by Moon’s position at full moon—Gemini):

Stimulates companions’ evolution

Rays & Rulers


Exoteric Ruler


Esoteric Ruler


Hierarchical Ruler












by Dan